Doctor suspected of homophobia against monkeypox patient is removed in Santo André

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The Municipality of Santo André, in Greater São Paulo, removed a doctor suspected of homophobia against a patient who had symptoms of monkeypox.

The case was reported by actor Matheus Góis, 23, who made an appointment at the UPA (Emergency Care Unit) Central. The service is managed by the social organization SPDM (Paulista Association for the Development of Medicine), responsible for the urgent and emergency units in the city. The suspected doctor is an employee of the private entity and is not a public employee.

In a statement, the city government regretted what had happened and said it was investigating the facts. During the investigation, the doctor will be on leave and will not receive a salary.

In an interview with Sheet, Góis reports that he sought care last Monday (25). A doctor suspected syphilis and referred him to the Vila Vitória Specialty Medical Center for an examination, which was negative for this disease.

The patient says that he was isolated in the center of specialties and that a doctor took pictures of the lesions that appeared on the body. Afterwards, she referred him to the UPA Central de Santo André.

Góis says that he felt disdain on the part of the doctor who attended to him on the spot. “Soon he asked what I had and what I was doing there. I explained the whole process. Probably, in my medical record it was written that I had come from the specialty center. This center deals with STIs [infecções sexualmente transmissíveis]”, account.

“He asked: Do you have a disease?”, reports the actor. “I asked: Disease? He said: Yes, disease. What is your serology?”. Góis then replied that he had tested negative in blood tests that detect viruses such as HIV and was told by the doctor that, if he had come from the specialty center, “he had something”.

The patient says that he was then referred to a nurse and that the doctor did not complete the treatment. The diagnosis of monkeypox was confirmed.

“As soon as I walked into the room, he looked me up and down and obviously saw that I was gay. Then he only looked at me when he asked if I had a disease. It was pretty rude. From the chart, he knew where it came from. I had come, because at this specialty center I follow up on PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, HIV prevention therapy)”, she says.

“I make the report because the two doctors didn’t treat me like that. They carried out the standard reception process and didn’t ask me anything. I didn’t know it would have repercussions. I thought it was important to talk because there may be other cases”, says Góis, who also denounced the case on social networks.

The current outbreak of monkeypox most often affects men who have sex with men. The virus is transmitted by touching wounds caused by the infection or by close and prolonged contact with respiratory secretions from infected people, such as during sexual intercourse.

Experts warn, however, that anyone can be infected. Entities such as Unaids (Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS) have already expressed concern about the risk of stigmatization of communities due to racist and homophobic stereotypes that have been associated with monkeypox.

The City of Santo André says that professionals from the public and private health network received training on protocols, conducts and referrals regarding the disease offered by the Municipal Health Department.

By telephone, the SPDM press office said that the doctor is praised in the unit and that the questions asked to the boy were necessary.

According to Góis, no official from the city hall or social organization contacted him until this Sunday (31).

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