Monkeypox: Déjà Vu All Over Again
Written by James Gaynor
Covid and its variants have yet to disappear, and now Monkeypox – a new outbreak of a virus that can be transmitted during sex – makes its dramatic entrance. And if that wasn’t bad enough, its first concentration is in the M2M demographic. Sound familiar?
According to a recent article in The Guardian, New York City is fast becoming a global epicentre of the disease. And, once again, public health here is unequipped to handle an outbreak in a population this city would prefer to ignore once the Pride Parades are over.
However, as someone in the HIV trenches during the worst of HIV, I have some sense of optimism — despite the similarities, this isn’t going to be as bad.
Why not? First, this strain of Monkeypox is not generally fatal, although it can be incredibly painful and debilitating.
More importantly, my optimism is based on what we learned in the AIDS wars— our community can and will take care of our own.
So, while yet again we wait for a vaccine, we need to look at what we can do right now — publicise the facts about transmission, identify the symptoms, and, most importantly, use common sense around safer sex practices.
We’ve been through this before and have come out stronger. We will do it again. And, if there’s one thing this poet has learned from his third-in-a-lifetime pandemic: Versifiers and epidemiologists have something in common – love and viruses never disappear completely — and they share the disquieting habit of showing up again when least expected.
James W. Gaynor is a poet, still alive in New York City. His most recent collection of poems is a memoir of the AIDS years, “I’ll Miss You Later,”
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