Monkeypox outbreak evokes déjà vu for pioneering AIDS activists

As cases of monkeypox surge around the globe, four pioneers of the AIDS activist movement watch in awe and with a sense of nostalgia.

As cases of monkeypox surge around the globe, four pioneers of the AIDS activist movement watch in awe and with a sense of nostalgia.

Some of the similarities between the two viruses speak for themselves. Like the HIV strain that started the AIDS pandemic in the late 1970s, the current monkeypox outbreak has emerged from sub-Saharan Africa and has been found overwhelmingly in men who have sex with men who live in the world’s metropolises. And while epidemiologists have not reached a complete understanding of how the current outbreak of monkeypox spreads, recent research points to sexual transmission.

Four pioneering AIDS activists of the 1980s and ‘90s contend that there are other, consequential yet less obvious parallels playing out in real-time. 

People hold up signs representing the number of AIDS victims in a demonstration in Central Park in New York City on Aug. 8, 1983. Allan Tannenbaum / Getty Images fileAs in the early days of the AIDS crisis, they argue, government messaging around the outbreak has been flawed, gay men have been blindsided and public health officials have failed to defeat a severe disease plaguing the LGBTQ community.

“It feels like déjà vu,” said gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, who was a leading member of the Gay Liberation Front in the United Kingdom. “The lessons from the AIDS crisis and Covid have clearly not been learned.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-health-and-wellness/pioneering-aids-activists-monkeypox-outbreak-evokes-deja-vu-rcna40523


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