A petition has been launched to raise awareness that monkeypox is not an illness only affecting gay and bisexual men.

Watford Labour is calling on local authorities to create a campaign to educate the public that monkeypox is a viral infection that anyone can catch through close contact, regardless of their sexuality.

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Matt Turmaine, Watford Labour’s parliamentary candidate, said: “The majority of people who initially contracted the monkeypox virus were gay and bisexual men, leading to this false idea [that it is an STI].

“This is simply not the case as multiple global health authorities have attested.  

“Monkeypox is not an STI and is in actual fact spread through close contact between anyone.”

Nigel Bell, county councillor for West Watford and deputy leader of Herts Labour Group, said the misinformation that monkeypox is an STI that only affects the LGBTQ+ community, leads others into a “false sense of security”.

If the petition reaches 1,000 signatures it will be delivered to Hertfordshire County Council and borough and district councils.

To sign the petition, visit watfordlabour.org.uk/stop-monkeypox-misinformation/

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