SubscribeThe potentially fatal virus, a relative of the eradicated smallpox and harmless cowpox, is endemic to central and western Africa. A large proportion of the roughly 100 cases in the latest outbreak have been among gay or bisexual men.The United Nations (UN) AIDS agency has accused the media of “homophobic and racist” reporting on the outbreaks of the monkeypox virus in Western countries.UNAIDS confirmed that “a significant proportion” of the monkeypox cases identified in North and South America, Europe and Australia was among gay or bisexual men.The potentially fatal virus, a relative of the eradicated smallpox and harmless cowpox, is endemic only to central and western Africa.But the agency claimed that the media’s reference to gay men and Africans “reinforce homophobic and racist stereotypes and exacerbate stigma”.”Stigma and blame undermine trust and capacity to respond effectively during outbreaks like this one,” said UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Matthew Kavanagh. “Experience shows that stigmatising rhetoric can quickly disable evidence-based response by stoking cycles of fear, driving people away from health services, impeding efforts to identify cases and encouraging ineffective, punitive measures.”The UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO) has registered 92 confirmed cases of monkeypox outside Africa since the start of the outbreak and 28 more suspected infections. Suspected Monkeypox Case in Greece Turns Out to Be Chickenpox – EODYIn Britain, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has urged gay and bisexual men to be cautious after noting a disproportionately high share of the 20 British cases identified so far among their community.”We would recommend to anyone who is having changes in sex partners regularly, or having close contact with individuals that they don’t know, to come forward if they develop a rash,” UKHSA chief medical adviser Dr Susan Hopkins told the BBC.Hopkins stressed that the British outbreak was unusual as many infected individuals had not visited endemic regions of Africa or been in contact with someone from them. “We are finding cases that have no identified contact with an individual from west Africa, which is what we’ve seen previously in this country,” she said.The UKHSA is the government agency that managed the British response to the COVID-19 pandemic.