Expert With over 17,000 cases of monkeypox reported in more than 70 countries, the current outbreaks suggest it is essentially a sexually transmitted infection, said Dr Ishwar Gilada, president of the AIDS Society of India.
Dr Ishwar Gilada.
With the Pune-based National Institute of Virology detecting the country’s fourth case of monkeypox in a New Delhi resident, experts have urged the Centre to involve the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) in the prevention and control of the viral infection while also taking measures to fight the stigma associated with it.
President of the AIDS Society of India Dr Ishwar Gilada has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that the infection should be called human pox, instead of monkeypox. “We should take steps to prevent stigma and discrimination of infected people,” he told The Indian Express. Dr Gilada is also the secretary general of the Organised Medicine Academic Guild (OMAG), an umbrella organisation of professional medical associations of post-graduate doctors.
While thanking the World Health Organization (WHO) and its Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus for declaring monkeypox as a Global Health Emergency of International Concern (GHEIC), OMAG feels that the WHO should describe the current outbreak in proper perspectives based on science, reality and logic. WHO has done the right thing finally on the first count, Dr Gilada said.
“Now WHO should change nomenclature, drop the monkeypox name as it is no more spread from monkeys. In that sense, it is a misnomer. To reduce stigma and discrimination against patients and their families, it is a must to call it something like human pox,” he has said in a letter to PM Modi.
With over 17,000 cases of the virus reported in more than 70 countries, the current outbreaks suggest it is essentially a sexually transmitted infection, Dr Gilada said. He has urged WHO to declare it as a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), as currently 100% of the cases are transmitted sexually. “There is a need to ensure that patients are not subjected to stigma and discrimination, and have a mechanism in place so that their human rights are not violated,” he said. Experts have also called for starting production of the smallpox vaccine.