Spain: Abstinence to counter the monkeypox epidemic

Spain: abstinence for&nbsp ;countering the monkeypox epidemic

Groups that work with LGBT+ communities speak out against lack of prevention, vaccine shortages and stigma.

In Spain, the world's biggest outbreak of monkeypox, the lack of vaccines push part of the gay community to practice abstinence and limit the number of sexual partners in order to mitigate the risks.

With this monkey thing, I prefer to be careful […]. I no longer have sex, I no longer go to parties, and it will continue until I am vaccinated and have a little immunity, testifies Antonio Madrilène .

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

With 3738 cases, according to the latest WHO report, and the first two deaths recorded in Europe, Spain is the country the most affected in the world, ahead of the United States, which has 3,478 cases.

It worries me so much that at the Pride parade, I didn't do anything, I [did] not want to mess around, he confides, laughing nervously.

Before going on vacation abroad, Pablo (fictitious first name) also avoided risky situations by keeping his distance from sex clubs and sexual relations.

Without a regular partner, this 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 tell or what the people's names are. who you sleep with.

This tendency towards chastity seems to be quite widespread within the LGBT+ community, as confirmed by other men who have met but have not did not wish to testify due to the sensitivity of the subject.

Local associations had also advised reducing the number of sexual partners well before the recommendation of the WHO, which, moreover, triggered its highest level of alert on July 23 in an attempt to to curb the disease.

It's not like COVID-19: the vaccine is already there, there's no need to invent it. If [it] wasn't a disease [which affects homosexuals], we would have acted more and more quickly, thinks Antonio, who believes, like other members of the gay community, that the authorities do not ;have not taken the measure of the problem.

“We are facing a health emergency […] which affects a collective , LGBT+, so we think it's insignificant, that [it] isn't serious […]. This is exactly what happened 40 years ago with HIV. »

— Ivan Zaro, vice-president of the NGO Imagina más

NGOs denounce the lack of prevention, the shortage of vaccines and the stigma.

Antonio took three weeks to get an appointment, logging on to the official website at midnight every day. Many testimonials on Twitter confirm that it is difficult to get a date.

Slots are going as fast as tickets for Beyoncé's next concert, adds another man.

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

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

For Nahum Cabrera, of the FELGTBI+ federation, it is necessary to vaccinate urgently the people most at risk – not only homosexuals -, namely people who have sex on a regular basis with multiple partners as well as those who frequent swingers' clubs, LGTB + saunas, etc.< /p>

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

The age group to target for vaccinations, he believes, is 18-46 years old, #x27;Spain having vaccinated against smallpox until the 1970s, when the virus had not yet disappeared from Europe.

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

After his three weeks of isolation, very badly lived after the COVID-19 , he sensitized those around him. I warn everyone. It's an infectious disease, anyone can catch it, he says.

Not knowing how he got infected, this 32-year-old cinematographer who lives as a monogamous couple says he is proof that anyone can catch him.

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