Kyle Sandilands says he’s right to call monkeypox a “big gay disease”

Radio host Kyle Sandilands says he did nothing wrong by describing monkeypox as a “big gay disease”, arguing that science is on his side.

The Sydney based radio KIIS FM host was criticised when he made comments about the virus last Tuesday when he described monkeypox as a “big gay disease that only gays get”.

The segment saw Sandilands ask newsreader Brooklyn Ross if he, as a gay man, was going to vaccinated against the virus that has steadily been spreading around the world. Ross said he didn’t feel he needed to because he was in a relationship, to which Sandilands suggested that the newsreader was “rolling the dice”.

The radio host then had the newsreader’s partner call in to the station to join the conversation and also brought in the show’s medical expert, known as Dr KIIS

‘Is it true that if you eat bananas, your chance of getting monkeypox skyrockets?’ Sandilands asked, before bursting into laughter. He then suggested that doctors should put up signs turning away people with symptoms of monkeypox.

“You don’t have to have every Tom, Dick, and bloody dirty monkeypox victim coming in there, do ya?” Sandilands said during the exchange, before saying he would not allow any gay people near his newborn son out of fear they may have the virus.

His comments have been described being unhelpful to medical professionals who are trying to control the spread of the virus.

“Comments such as this are not just hurtful, they are also deeply unhelpful,” a spokesperson for the federation told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Right now, thousands of gay and bisexual men are doing the right thing by monitoring for monkeypox symptoms, to look after their health and that of their partners.

“Over the next few months, we will be asking these men to come forward to be vaccinated.” the spokesperson said highlighting that causing fear and stigmas around the disease would not be productive.

Sandlilands comments were defended by the station’s management who said regualr listeners would be aware of his style of communication.

“Kyle is renowned for his colourful vernacular,” an ARN spokesperson said.

“We appreciate that those unaccustomed to his expressions may consider the content opinionated, and the range of topics discussed on the show are not to everyone’s taste.”

After criticism of the comments continued throughout the week, today Sandilands returned to the topic, saying there was nothing wrong with his comments, as the science had shown that the current outbreak was predominantly among gay men. Sandilands denied his comments had been homophobic.

Newsreader Brooklyn Ross said the segment from last week had been a public service message, noting the health officials had previously commented that there had not been enough information reaching the gay community.

“The health community has said recently that not enough media was reporting on monkeypox being the gay virus. They were all a bit worried [to say it],” he said.

Sandilands added: “They [the media] are all so woke, they don’t want to offend anyone. But, hey, heads up, gays: watch out for this disease.”

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that is endemic in Central or West Africa, but since May this year there has been a global increase in cases reported from non-endemic countries.

The World Health Organisation’s latest data reports that there are now over 47,000 cases globally, which includes 106 in Australia. The Western Australian Health department has confirmed there have been five cases locally. All the cases in WA have been among travelers returning from overseas.

Monkeypox is most often spread through close skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the infection, for example during sex. It can also be spread in other ways, such as through prolonged face-to-face contact via respiratory droplets.

Symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. Sores, rash, bumps or pimples, which can be very painful, are commonly reported on the genitals, anus or inside rectum, inside the mouth, face, palms of the hands and soles of the feet, but can appear on any part of the body.

The sores are flat and then become raised. Then they fill with fluid and eventually scab and fall off over a period of 2–3 weeks. General viral symptoms may be experienced initially such as fevers, chills, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion and headache.

More information on how to gain treatment for the virus is available at the Healthy WA website. A vaccine is available for people who may be at risk of getting the virus, but supplies are very limited.

OIP Staff

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