Beyond the lesions, the psychological stigma of monkeypox

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If the monkey pox mainly echoes skin lesions and fever attacks, those affected also suffer the psychological repercussions linked to the disease, warn former patients and caregivers, who hurt us a lot, closed for three weeks with, in addition , the weight of discrimination”, confides Corentin Hennebert, 27, who spoke publicly after being “one of the first cases” in France. Since his remission, he has been approached by other patients who, like him, affirm the “psychological cost” of the disease. Smadja, an infectious disease specialist at Bichat Hospital (Paris), who coordinated a clinical study on infected patients. On the one hand, “the pain” and the possible “sequelae, particularly aesthetic”, on the other, the fact of being affected by “a disease that people have never heard of” and that produced after two years of Covid. -19 epidemic, leading to a new isolation of three weeks. A small number of patients develop internal injuries, particularly proctological ones, which are “extremely painful” and sometimes require hospitalization or even surgery, he explains. This was the case of Corentin Hennebert: “I constantly had the impression that the razor blades pushed me, I can’t find any other comparison, it was so strong,” he says. Before she was given tramadol, a powerful painkiller, she had “lost 7kg in three days” because she was no longer eating. “I just thought about the pain,” he recalls. “And I’m not the only one, others have contacted me to say they were at their wits end, crying all the time.” The reactivated trauma of HIV Saved by this suffering, says Sébastien Tuller, 32, was affected by the appearance of the injuries. “It was very ugly and I didn’t know what to do. I was very anxious to see it appear on my face. “As soon as a disease is visible, it’s scary because it becomes potentially stigmatizing,” observes Michel Ohayon, director of 190, a sexual health center, drawing a parallel with “Karposi’s sarcoma,” which was “the symptom of AIDS”. A comparison that is often made by those interested, because if the two diseases “have nothing to do” in terms of severity, monkey pox “comes to awaken the trauma of HIV”, believes Nicolas Derche, national director of the center of community health of the SOS Group, which brings together 650 social and medico-social structures. “For HIV-positive people, this has reactivated very violent things”, be it “the fear of a diagnosis” or “reviving a strong stigma”, reports Vincent Leclercq, Aides activist. As was the case with HIV, monkeypox currently circulates mainly within the MSM (men who have sex with men) community, which has led to further discrimination. “There is a lot of normal homophobia and this has a real impact on mental health”, testifies Sébastien Tuller, LGBT activist and lawyer, who reports having received torrents of insults and derogatory comments. “Many do not say they have smallpox or have had it, for fear of being stigmatized,” he reports. “Especially young people, who have not yet come out” to their family, or people who are afraid that their sexual orientation will be revealed to their company because of the length of the isolation (three weeks). Precarity and degradation of sexual life In August, Public Health France pointed out “psychological and relational difficulties” communicated through the line “Monkey pox information service”. The association that manages this listening service specifies that 22% of calls refer to these topics. Among the other repercussions observed, the effects on mental health “of the precariousness” that in some, such as the self-employed or sex workers, generated the three weeks of isolation, and the “degradation of sexual life”, Nicolas indicates right for fear of contaminating themselves or contaminating themselves, many people have stopped all sexual activity for months, or are experiencing libido problems, the associations explain. Fortunately, emphasizes Nicolas Derche, “the experience of HIV” has made it possible to develop the “community health approach” and “care for exposed people” and thus “to support the people who are facing monkey pox today “.
#lesions #psychological #stigma #monkeypox

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