Stigmatized Medical Rhetoric: Monkeypox and the AIDS Epidemic in Queer Communities, a talk by Sara Cross Oct. 31

Oct 25, 2022

Dr. Sara Cross of the University of Tennessee will discuss the impact of misinformation about the monkeypox epidemic spread through social media platforms in a talk from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Flynn Auditorium Monday, Oct. 31.

When the WHO declared monkeypox a public health emergency, WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus.” A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 98 percent of people diagnosed with the virus between April and June in more than 12 countries identify as gay or bisexual men, and the WHO states that 99 percent of cases are related to male-to-male sexual contact. Despite these statistics, monkeypox is spread through skin-to-skin contact and is thus relevant to everyone.

Misinformation labeling monkeypox a “gay disease” resembles the rhetoric that surrounded AIDS epidemic in the1980s and 1990s,which stigmatized and marginalized the gay community. This talk will explore the parallels between public perception and government reaction to the AIDS epidemic and the recent monkeypox outbreak and how government action during these outbreaks has furthered stigmatization of the gay community in the public eye.

Equity, Diversity and Community