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Opinion Gay men can fight monkeypox ourselves — by changing how we have sex

Benjamin Ryan: Almost all 9,492 U.S. diagnoses of monkeypox have occurred. He says gay men need to change their sexual behavior now to protect themselves. Ryan: As during the AIDS crisis, gay men cannot wait for the government for answers. Gay men have an awesome history of coming up with such homegrown public health solutions, he says. He argues that telling gay men to alter our sexual practices is stigmatizing, but this thinking patronizes gay men as perennial adolescents determined to defy any whiff of paternalism regardless of the cost to themselves or the community at large. Ryan: We must do this as an act of empowerment to protect ourselves. Until a time when monkeypox hopefully abates, this can and should mean reducing partners, skipping sex parties, practicing monogamy and even being abstinent.

Gay men deserve the government’s best advice on how to protect themselves now. Gay men deserved to know their disproportionate share of monkeypox case count at the start of this outbreak. But we cannot just stand by until public officials realize that, too. Gay Americans are jumping into action already.