health-related fact checks

Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease

Rappler.com
Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease
(1st UPDATE) According to the World Health Organization, 98% of cases globally have been among men who have sex with men, but anyone can be infected, especially the immunocompromised and young children

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this fact check was titled, “Most monkeypox cases are not transmitted by members of the LGBTQIA+ community.” It also rated as false the claim: “98% of all monkeypox cases have been transmitted by people who identify as gay and bisexual, or men who have sex with men (MSM).” These are inaccurate because the World Health Organization in July 2022 reported this to be true. This story also wrongly used a post by the Facebook page, The Imperial Patriarch, to check the initial claim. We apologize for the error. We are instead correcting a different false claim as seen below.

Claim: Monkeypox is a sexually-transmitted disease (STD) spread by men having sex with men.  

Rating: False 

Why we fact-checked this: Multiple posts containing this claim have spread online across TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook. 

The bottom line: Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease endemic to Central and West Africa, and is not an STD that originated from, or is limited to, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, or to men having sex with men. 

What the World Health Organization (WHO) says: Monkeypox is transmitted through close contact with an infected person, animal, or contaminated materials through lesions, body fluids, and respiratory droplets. 

  • Also, monkeypox has been an identified disease since 1970. Multiple outbreaks have been recorded over the years in countries like Congo and Nigeria, with severe cases most commonly occurring among children.  

2022 Outbreak: Since May, cases of monkeypox have been reported outside countries where it is not endemic across the United States and Europe. 

  • According to the WHO’s briefing last July 27, 98% of cases globally have been among MSM, however, anyone may be infected, especially the immunocompromised and young children.

What the Department of Health (DOH) says: 95% of all cases globally have been transmitted through sexual activity. 

  • The DOH on Friday, July 29, reported its first case of monkeypox from a 31-year-old Filipino who arrived from abroad. The case has already been discharged and recovered.

What the WHO emphasizes: It is wrong to label monkeypox as an STD and use it to stigmatize members of the LGBTQIA+ community as it can affect anyone. 

  • As of July, the WHO declared it as a global health emergency of international concern. 

 – Sofia Guanzon/Rappler.com 


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