Spain: the gay community towards abstinence to guard against monkeypox

Spain: the gay community towards abstinence to guard against monkeypox

Abstinence, limitation of sexual partners: in Spain, the biggest focus of monkeypox in the world, the lack of vaccines is pushing part of the gay community, on the front line against the virus, to change their sexual habits to limit the risks.

“With this monkey thing, I prefer to be careful (…) I don’t have sex anymore, I don’t go to parties anymore, and that until I’m vaccinated and I have a little ‘immunity”. Antonio, a 35-year-old Madrilenian who did not wish to give his last name, admits having radically changed his practices.

The 30-year-old, who often liked to go out to nightclubs and sometimes went to libertine parties, stopped short when he saw the evolution of the epidemic in his country.

With 3,738 cases according to the latest WHO report and the first two deaths recorded in Europe, Spain is the most affected country in the world, ahead of the United States (3,478).

But the Spanish Ministry of Health identifies many more: 4,298 cases as of Saturday.

“It worries me so much that at the ‘Pride March’ (July 9), I didn’t do anything, I didn’t want to mess around”he says, laughing nervously.

Before going on vacation abroad, Pablo (first name changed), 38, also “avoided risky situations”.

“What I did was I didn’t go to sex clubs anymore and I didn’t have sex either”he explains.

Without a regular partner, the 30-year-old, who works in the pharmaceutical industry, explains that the risk is major in sex clubs, where “you don’t even know who to warn, or what the names of the people you sleep with”.

A tendency towards chastity which seems to be quite widespread within the LGBTI community, as confirmed by other men met by AFP but who did not wish to testify because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Local associations had also advised to reduce sexual partners well before the same recommendation issued last week by the WHO.

The organization triggered its highest level of alert on July 23 in an attempt to contain the disease.

Shortage of vaccines

“It’s not like Covid, the vaccine is already there, there’s no need to invent it. If it wasn’t a fag disease (sic), we would have acted more, and faster”: For Antonio, like other members of the gay community, the authorities have not taken the measure of the problem.

NGOs denounce a lack of prevention, a shortage of vaccines and stigmatization.

Antonio took three weeks to get an appointment, logging on to the official website at midnight every day. Many testimonials on Twitter confirm the difficulty of getting a date.

The battlements “are going as fast as the tickets for Beyoncé’s next concert”, adds another man.

To date, Spain has received only 5,300 first doses which arrived at the end of June.

Contacted by AFP, the Spanish Ministry of Health refused to comment on the subject.

As for AIDS

For Nahum Cabrera, of the FELGTBI+ federation, the most exposed people must be vaccinated urgently – not just homosexuals – namely “people who have sex on a regular basis with multiple partners, as well as those who frequent swingers clubs, LGTBI saunas etc”.

The risk, he says, is “generate a false tranquility within the general population and that they relax into thinking that they are safe and that it only happens to men who have sex with men”.

The age group to target for vaccinations, he believes, is 18-46 years old, Spain having vaccinated against smallpox until the 1970s, when the virus had not yet disappeared from Spain. Europe.

“We are facing a health emergency (…) which affects a collective, the LGBTI, so we think it is insignificant, that it is not serious (…). That’s exactly what it happened 40 years ago with HIV”, says Ivan Zaro, vice-president of the NGO “Imagina más”.

Javier spent three days in hospital in early July after being infected.

After his three weeks of isolation, very badly experienced after the Covid, he made his entourage aware. “I’m warning everyone. It’s an infectious disease, anyone can catch it”he said.

Unaware of how he was infected, this 32-year-old cinematographer who lives as a monogamous couple claims that he is proof that “everyone can catch it”.

#Spain #gay #community #abstinence #guard #monkeypox

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