Monkeypox shows that if we can’t talk openly about sex and disease, bigots will | Zoe Williams

Monkeypox shows that if we can’t talk openly about sex and disease, bigots will | Zoe Williams

There has been a lack of clear public information on the virus. Judgment, half-truths and homophobia have filled the vacuum

Contrary to original reporting in the Telegraph, now corrected – but not before being widely syndicated – Will Nutland never said that this summer’s festivals could turn into superspreader events. The assistant honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine dislikes the term “superspreader”, a neologism dating from the first days of Covid – it’s the vocabulary of the killjoy, sensationalist and judgmental and accusatory.

Nutland was instead advising caution around skin-to-skin contact: he wasn’t talking about Covid, but monkeypox. As if to make his point, he spoke to me from a field at Glastonbury, where he’s also distributing condoms (he’s co-founder of two voluntary organisations, Prepster, which focuses on HIV prevention, and The Love Tank, which researches health inequalities), having “measured up the risks of possible monkeypox transmission versus all of the joy and pleasure” that festivals bring.

Zoe Williams is a Guardian columnist

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