Social distancing can stop the spread of monkeypox–and other STDs

By Jonathon Van Maren

In late July, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox to be a “global health emergency.” Monkeypox, which manifests itself in the infected by fever, headache, sore muscles, and rashes on or around the genitals (among other symptoms), primarily infects “men who have sex with men,” according to mainstream media.  

Monkeypox is often passed along through sexual contact, which had commentators like Andrew Sullivan fulminating on Twitter about the lack of monkeypox vaccines available heading into Pride Month. In short, this disease could largely be prevented by…social distancing. 

But casual sex, of course, is an untouchable right post-sexual revolution — and telling LGBT people to curtail their sexual activity is possibly the greatest heresy. And thus the very health officials who shuttered schools, kept people from the bedsides of dying relatives, closed or limited church services, ordered people to stay in their homes, and demanded that everyone stay six feet apart and masked, would not even consider shutting down mass Pride events that became vectors of infection. 

As Erick Erickson put it, the folks who were eager to shut down society for COVID “are the same officials who won’t ban orgies to stop monkeypox.” Not even two weeks to stop the spread, as it turns out. 


In fact, the primary concern of many politicians now is not monkeypox, but the idea that the activities spreading it may attract stigma. As notorious California legislator Scott Wiener—the sponsor of a law reducing the consequences for refusing to disclose HIV to a sexual partner—put it on Twitter: “Lots of sex shaming of gay men around monkeypox. The same shaming we saw in the 1980s re HIV. Lecturing people not to have sex isn’t a public health strategy. It didn’t stop HIV — it made it worse — & it won’t stop monkeypox. What will work is vaccination, testing & education.” 


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