Addressing stigma is key to containing t


October 19, 2022 – Inaccurate media coverage of the monkeypox outbreak has resulted in misinformation about the many ways it can spread, leading to stigma (shameful and biased attitudes) towards people who develop the disease. Nurses play a key role in providing appropriate care related to monkeypox by creating safe spaces for those affected, regardless of their sexual behaviors, race and ethnicity, gender, or co-infections. These findings come from two articles that appeared in the November/December issue of The Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (JANAC), the official journal of the AIDS Care Nurses Association. JANAC is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Monkeypox Transmission Risks

Everyone is at risk for monkeypox because it can be spread by:

  • Close physical contact and shared personal items, such as clothing and bedding
  • Person-to-person contact, such as skin contact
  • Contact with contaminated surfaces
  • Respiratory droplets, such as when someone with monkeypox coughs, sneezes, or laughs

Thus, the spread of monkeypox is not related to race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. However, “due to inconsistent messaging about the origin of the current monkeypox outbreak and the communities most affected by the outbreak, we are confusing an outbreak transmitted via social media and a high community viral load with sexual behaviors” , according to Alanna Bergman, MSN, AGNP-BC, AAHIVS, doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, and coauthors.

Rutgers School of Nursing professor Jeffrey Kwong, DNP, MPH, ANP-BC, ACRN, and colleagues add that some reports in the popular press have described monkeypox as a sexually transmitted disease, even though scientists don’t are not sure yet. . “The virus can undoubtedly be transmitted through contact associated with sexual intercourse. It remains to be seen, however, whether exposure to sexual fluids is the primary mode of transmission.”

Singepox – associated stigma

Yet in the current outbreak in the United States, most confirmed cases to date have been in men who report having had sex with other men. Additionally, people living with HIV are disproportionately likely to develop monkeypox. As a result, a person who develops monkeypox may face considerable stigma, including multiple types of prejudice if they have both monkeypox and HIV.

The stigma associated with monkeypox can make a person too embarrassed to get tested for the disease, seek treatment, and/or follow the prescribed treatment regimen. Men who have sex with men and people living with HIV may face stigma that prevents them from receiving appropriate preventive care and counseling about monkeypox, or prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Nurses can help protect individuals from the effects of stigma by educating other healthcare professionals about stigmatizing behaviors. They should also be proactive in identifying people at risk for monkeypox and suggesting vaccination and other prevention strategies. “Combating stigma begins with nurses’ knowledge of modes of transmission, sex-positive harm reduction strategies, and general infection control practices,” note Dr. Kwong and her co-authors. “Recognizing the clinical manifestations of disease can lead to earlier diagnosis, access to care and prevention activities.”

Click here to read “Monkeypox virus 2022 outbreak: key epidemiological, clinical, diagnostic and preventive considerations”

DOI: 10.1097/JNC.0000000000000365



The Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (JANAC) is an international peer-reviewed nursing journal that covers the full spectrum of the global HIV epidemic, focusing on prevention, evidence-based care management, interprofessional clinical care, research, advocacy rights, policy, education, social determinants of health, epidemiology and program development. JANAC operates under the highest standards of ethical publishing practices and offers innovative publishing options, including Open Access and preprint publishing, where the journal can publish articles before they are published with a number.

About the Association of AIDS Nurses

Since 1987, the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC) has been the leading organization of nurses fighting HIV/AIDS. ANAC’s mission is to foster the professional development of nurses and others involved in providing health care to people at risk of, living with and/or affected by HIV and its comorbidities. ANAC promotes the health, well-being and rights of people living with HIV around the world.

About Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer (WKL) is a global leader in professional information, software solutions and services for clinicians, nurses, accountants, lawyers and the tax, finance, auditing, risk, compliance and regulation. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by delivering expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with advanced technology and services.

Wolters Kluwer achieved annual sales of €4.8 billion in 2021. The group serves customers in over 180 countries, maintains operations in over 40 countries and employs around 19,800 people worldwide. The company is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands.

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