Rae Lewis-Thornton: We are watching as public health officials make the same mistakes they made during the HIV/AIDS pandemic. She says the focus on gay men set up the public health response for failure in two respects. It left other groups, especially Black and Brown women, with a false sense of security, she says. Women were misdiagnosed because symptoms didn’t match those seen in gay men with AIDS, she writes. Women also contracted HIV from their partners who used intravenous drugs and from their own drug use, she adds. Women were denied disability benefits because they didn't meet the “criteria” of having AIDS. Steeped in misogyny, women mattered only when it came to mother-child transmission.
While there is still much we don't know about monkeypox, unlike HIV/AIDS, it is not a sexually transmitted disease. It is transmitted primarily through bodily fluids; close skin-to-skin contact when a blisterlike sore is present.