California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) declared a state of emergency to deal with the monkeypox virus, which has so far mostly affected men who have sex with men.
In a statement Monday, Newsom said California will work closely with the federal government to make the monkeypox vaccine more accessible, while also fighting any stigma the LGBTQ community may face.
“We will continue to work with the federal government to ensure access to more vaccines, raise awareness about risk reduction, and stand with the LGBTQ community against stigma,” Newsom said.
According to the Associated Press, about 800 cases were report In the Golden State, transmission is primarily through skin-to-skin contact between MSM. The virus can also be spread by sharing bedding, towels and clothing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also noted that the virus can spread on surfaces used by monkeypox patients. According to the CDC website:
Monkeypox spreads in several ways.
- Monkeypox can be spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
- Direct contact with the rash, scabs, or body fluids of a monkeypox patient.
- Touch objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels) and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
- Contact with respiratory secretions.
- This direct contact can occur during close contact, including:
- Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) of people with monkeypox.
- Hugs, massages and kisses.
- Prolonged face-to-face contact.
- Touch unsanitized fabrics and objects used by monkeypox patients during sex, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys.
- Pregnant women can transmit the virus to the fetus through the placenta.
It is also possible for people to contract monkeypox from an infected animal by being scratched or bitten by an animal, or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.
Michelle Gibbons, executive director of the California Association of County Health Administrators, said stigma against people infected with monkeypox only undermines the public health response, stressing that anyone can contract the virus.
“Public health officials are clear: stigma is unacceptable and counterproductive,” she said in a statement. “The truth is that monkeypox is primarily spread through skin-to-skin contact and sharing items such as bedding or towels. , has nothing to do with sexual orientation or gender identity.”
California’s announcement comes after New York and San Francisco declared their respective states of emergency to combat the monkeypox virus.