More than 32,000 cases of the monkeypox virus have now been identified across nearly 90 countries. Vaccines and treatments are being rolled out by health agencies around the world, most of which are responding to the first significant monkeypox outbreak within their country. Early outbreak response bears a striking resemblance to the early HIV/AIDS response; we have seen the use of harmful and stigmatizing language, widespread circulation of images of African bodies with rashes, and the conflation of sexuality and monkeypox infection.
On August 18th, the Harvard Global Health Institute will host a panel of global experts who will consider how intersectional stigma and racism have shaped priorities and undermined strategy in the global response to the monkeypox outbreak. Panelists will draw on the successes and failures of prior pandemic responses to discuss how bias limits the efficacy of public health strategy and how equitable, evidenced-based approaches can protect the health of all.