Monkey pox: Ottawa invests $350,000 for awareness and prevention

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Monkey pox: Ottawa invests $350,000 for awareness and prevention

The RÉZO organization has been working in prevention with the community of gay and bisexual men in Montreal since 1991.

The Trudeau government announces an envelope of $350,000 intended to counter the outbreak of the monkeypox epidemic, which continues to grow in the country and particularly in Quebec.

C' x27;is the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, who carried the message of his government, replacing the Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos. The announcement took place at the offices of the RÉZO organization, which works with gay, bisexual and trans men.

RÉZO is one of three organizations selected by Ottawa that will receive $150,000 to conduct screening and vaccination awareness activities. The AIDS Committee of Toronto and MAX Ottawa are also part of the lot.

The money will essentially go to our prevention component, says RÉZO's general manager, Alexandre Dumont Blais. He thus wishes to develop promotional tools and reach people who are at risk outside of where [his organization] is used to being. This funding will allow it to devote more resources to prevention and support for those infected with the disease.

Minister Guilbeault also promised that this announcement was the first step in a larger million dollar plan to fight this epidemic.

In mid-May, Montreal public health announced that it had detected the first two cases of monkeypox in Canada. Two months later, the country has more than 600 cases, including 320 in Quebec alone. Canada is the sixth most affected country in the world by the spread of the virus.

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For two months, […] it's been a blaze. We feel that our communities are in question, but above all in action mode in the face of this outbreak, relates Alexandre Dumont Blais, who underlines that the community of gay and bisexual men – particularly affected by this epidemic – has not given in to the #x27;collective anxiety.

His organization is concentrating these days on explaining the modes of transmission of the disease. It's been said a lot that it's not an STBBI [sexually transmitted blood-borne infection], but the modes of transmission are very similar to an STBBI. For many people it's seen that way

Remember that monkeypox is mainly transmitted by respiratory droplets, by direct contact with lesions on the skin or by bodily fluids. Usually, the virus is not easily transmitted, and people must be in close and prolonged contact (a sexual relationship, for example), for transmission to occur.

Skin lesions are among the symptoms associated with monkeypox.

According to Alexandre Dumont Blais, his organization is in great demand to explain ways to prevent infection and the spread of the disease. Mr. Dumont Blais encourages men to get a dose of the vaccine now available, but also to keep in touch with their sexual partners, even passengers.

These are symptoms that no one wants to have […]. Infected people have told us that they have gone through difficult times and have had painful symptoms and isolation for several weeks. And after two years of the pandemic, further isolation has mental and social health consequences.

During the announcement, Minister Guilbeault said his government wanted to avoid the stigma attached to the disease, which he believes would lead to a lack of awareness of the risks and [of its] negative effects on health.

“It is important to remember that anyone, regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status and ethnic identity can become infected and transmit monkeypox if they come in close contact. with someone with this disease.

— Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

In addition, the Minister promised that Canada has access to enough doses of the vaccine to control the current epidemic.

We see a rapid reaction from the federal government and the provinces . Vaccination has already started with 12,000 doses that have been distributed [in Quebec]. We are hopeful that we will succeed, fairly quickly, in bringing the situation under control, he said.

Meanwhile, the situation of the epidemic is escalating all over the world. Over 15,000 cases have been reported in over 71 countries.

Faced with the progression of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) has scheduled an emergency meeting on Thursday to coordinate the international response, among other things with regard to the distribution of vaccines.

We have seen patients from Spain and Portugal who did not have access to vaccination against monkeypox, says doctor Robert Pilarski, who is a general practitioner at the La Licorne medical clinic in Montreal. I hope this meeting will help provide funds for vaccination and prevention in clinics, hospitals and community organizations.

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