An atypical outbreak of the monkeypox virus was identified in the WHO European Region in May 2022, and on 23 July 2022, the Director General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreysus, declared the rapid spread of the disease in non-endemic countries to be a public health emergency of international concern. Following a series of consultations with global experts, WHO has begun using a new preferred term “mpox” as a synonym for monkeypox. Both names will be used simultaneously for one year while “monkeypox” is phased out.
Reducing the onward spread of mpox requires a tailored approach based on an understanding of the behaviours and contexts of the affected communities—at this time gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) with multiple, recent sexual partners, as well as the health workers who engage with these groups. Behavioural and cultural insights can help promote a people-centred process where mpox-related policies, services and communication are shaped by and respond to the needs, perspectives and conditions of those most involved and affected.
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