When Public Health Goes Woke

For over a century the public health profession has successfully improved the health of the American public. Notable successful campaigns have included anti-smoking, regular vaccinations, periodic check-ups for breast and skin cancer, and promoting healthier diets. All had a common element: show the harmful consequences of a behavior and then provide ways to mitigate it.

Unfortunately, the public health profession, like so many of our once effective institutions, has gone woke and may even be promoting death. Social justice has replaced sound medicine as if pathologies of the body can be cured by eliminating sexism, racism, homophobia, and all the rest. The profession has slipped into the La-La land where ideology trumps plain-to-see reality.  

The current brouhaha over monkeypox illustrates this transformation. The facts are simple, and in the past public health officials would first, describe the disease, how it is transmitted and the signs of infection. Then identify high-risk populations, followed by plans of action if you believe yourself to be infected. For monkeypox the prescription would be greatly limit sexual contacts, see a doctor and follow his or her advice. Of the utmost importance, the CDC would implore those likely to contract the illness to stop the behaviors that transmit it. This is comparable to imploring smokers to stop smoking unless they want to die of lung cancer. In no time, guaranteed, the monkeypox epidemic would be under control and forgotten.  

No more. Monkeypox now offers a forum whereby CDC public health officials can berate American society for its homophobia all the while minimizing steps to control the illness. The key message -- cease those behaviors that cause infection -- goes largely unvoiced. As with wokeness more generally, language becomes reality, so the CDC advises health professionals when warning potential victim to use inclusive language such as “we and “us,” avoid sensationalism, provide diverse and credible images, and minimize fear while promoting personal agency. Even the term “monkeypox” is hotly debated since it allegedly further marginalizes some communities. Gone are the day of scaring people to quit smoking or drinking with graphic pictures of the unpleasant consequences.   

Moreover, while the statistics unambiguously show the disease to be almost entirely limited to gay men, health professionals are advised to “Emphasize that anyone can get monkeypox and promote it as a public health concern for all.  Focusing on cases among gay and bisexual men may inadvertently stigmatize this population and create a false sense of safety among those who are not gay and bisexual men.” Without any data, the CDC also opines that stigmatization can also lead to gay men being denied healthcare, education, housing, employment while encouraging others to physically assault them.

It is not just a matter of hurt feelings; if one believes the CDC, stigma has negative medical consequences. In their words:

Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger toward ordinary people instead of focusing on the disease that is causing the problem. Stigma can also make people more likely to hide symptoms or illness, keep them from seeking health care immediately, and prevent individuals from adopting healthy behaviors. This means that stigma can make it more difficult to control the spread of an outbreak.

That is, stigma kills, but that misstatement hardly stops the CDC from yet more lying, Has the CDC learned the costs of misleading the American public regarding COVID? Apparently not.

Most plainly, not everybody is equally vulnerable to monkeypox -- it is a gay and disproportionately black male illness and the CDC’s own statistics confirm this truth. Less obvious is how the CDC views America as if it were still the 1940s when homosexuality was illegal, grounds for being fired from government jobs and carried a social stigma that could ruin a life. Today, by contrast, gays are powerful. They are all over TV and magazines, while homosexuality is legally protected.  The term “Queer” is now an honored academic term and anti-gay slurs are severely punished. Other than kowtowing to voting power, why else would President Biden talk of allocating $7 billion to combat a rarely fatal disease that affects so few Americans? The June Pride month New York City was awash in festivities, parades, speeches, Pride flags everywhere and upscale establishments competing to welcome gays. Even Fox News celebrated Pride.   

More is involved than the CDC twisting reality to fit a political agenda. America may be on the verge of a far more deadly epidemic concentrated among gay males, one far exceeding the 675,000 deaths that occurred from HIV/AIDs decades ago. The current 4638 suspected cases of monkeypox may only be the first installment of a deadly disease tsunami. Specifically, the earlier epidemic got its start in small, out-the-way bars and bathhouses, mostly located in a few gay-friendly urban areas, and thus took years before fully metastasizing. Today’s carnage may be a hundred-fold.

America’s cultural transformation has changed everything. The gay lifestyle of highly promiscuous sex has gone mainstream and openly marketed 24/7. Atlantis offers all-gay cruises, resorts and parties and the sex angle is graphic. A cornucopia of gay erotic activities can be found at Gay Travel with its calendar of parties, festivals, and links to various gay groups. “Circuit parties” may last for days and attract attendees internationally. All perfectly legal, convenient and given the scale of these activities, easily affordable to millions.

This transformation from hidden backroom sex to publicized events with thousands of participants and multiple partners is a public health disaster waiting to happen. This is not about monkeypox per se since that illness is not particularly lethal. Rather, thanks to their promiscuity, many gays often contract other sexually transmitted diseases and new pathologies including some “super-bug” may arrive from overseas thanks to non-Americans flocking to these gay bacchanals. The U.S. may become the next sex tourist hotspot, particularly if the CDC is paralyzed to stop the partying.

Yes, modern medicine offers drugs that mitigate (but do not yet cure) the worst aspect of AID/HIV, and modern antibiotics remain effective against current sexually transmitted diseases, but matters will surely change.  The World Health Organization, among others, has been sounding the alert that microbes grow resistant to antibiotics and their overuse sets the stage for strains beyond the reach of today’s medicines. The question is not “if” but “when” the bill for this promiscuity arrives.

Given past failures of public health professionals (at a time when gays lacked political power) to curb gay hedonism by closing bath houses and promoting safe sex, the future looks grim. The CDC shut down cruise lines when COVID struck but it is politically unthinkable that they will ban establishments that facilitate orgiastic gay sex. At most, warning will be required, and parties might flee offshore beyond CDC reach. Anything more draconian will be condemned as “homophobic” and an economic disaster for a loyal Democratic constituency.

Most important, the politically sensitive CDC will lead the charge to keep the festivities going. The carnage, no doubt, will be portrayed as just incidental collateral damage, part of a vibrant lifestyle and to be addressed by “education” and billion-dollar moonshots to develop miracle cures. Gays may somehow blame it on Trump like they blamed AIDS on Reagan. Promoting public health will become a war on stigma, not death.  

Image: CDC

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