There are a lot of Catholic LGBTQ+ people in the US who are worried about monkeypox and don't know who to ask for aid or information from.
Although the Catholic Church has made progress on problems of LGBTQ+ inclusion since the HIV/AIDS crisis, many LGBTQ+ Catholics continue to have trouble getting support from their parishes during another outbreak that disproportionately affects men who have sex with other men.
Worry About Support from Churches
While in NYC for the LGBTQ+ Catholic ministry conference Outreach 2022, Eder Diaz Santillan came across a tweet from a gay man about how he had contracted monkeypox. Diaz recalled the gay bar he had left and worried that he might have contracted monkeypox there.
Diaz was able to get vaccinated by late August, but he stated the incident has developed longstanding concerns about his safety if he opens up about his health to the wider community and risks receiving harsh criticism as a result.
According to the National Catholic Reporter, Diaz said that he had never thought of seeking comfort in Catholic communities.
He even claimed that he has no idea where to turn for help after his suspicion that he contracted monkeypox during a visit to New York City, and has left him feeling uneasy about sharing the news with his spiritual advisor.
Meanwhile, Diaz is one of the Catholic LGBTQ+ people who worries about getting support from their churches, despite the fact that some of the parishes addressed inclusivity.
The National Catholic Reporter also revealed that it is possible to contract monkeypox from coming into contact with an infected person's skin, respiratory secretions, or handling an item of clothing or other material that has been worn by someone infected with the virus.
It also stated that approximately 21,985 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and isolation during the 2-4 week course of monkeypox infection is recommended by the CDC.
In contrast to the experiences of many LGBTQ+ Catholics, Jason Steidl Jack, assistant teaching professor of religious studies at St. Joseph's University, New York, reported that his parish, the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Manhattan, has provided some information about monkeypox and vaccines in the congregation.
However, when he was asked about seeking support from the church about monkeypox, Steidl Jack said that he would not tell his parish about that due to the stigma around it.
While sexual transmission of monkeypox is not certain, Daz and Steidl Jack believe that the church's refusal to address sexual health in the LGBTQ+ community remains a significant barrier to effective service.
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'Exclusively' Among Homosexual Males
A comprehensive analysis of the epidemiological situation involving monkeypox was published by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday.
The findings of the investigation revealed that the disease has been discovered nearly exclusively among males who participate in homosexual conduct.
According to Catholic Vote, 95 percent of male patients who reported their sexual activity said they had sex only with other guys. The majority of reported transmission events involve sexual contact, and others occur after sexual encounter at a party.
Less than one percent of monkeypox cases are in individuals younger than 18, and there have been no reports of exposure to monkeypox among school-aged children anywhere in the world.
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