By Rjay Castor

TV host and weatherman Kim Atienza is now under fire following his statement that monkeypox is usually transmitted through men who have sex with men. 

Photo courtesy of Orange Magazine/The Sun/Twitter

“Chicken pox is less severe and the virus is airborne. Monkey pox is sexually transmitted, usually M to M. #kuyakimanona,” said the TV host in a tweet, responding to a netizen asking the difference between a chickenpox and a monkeypox. 

Netizens slammed Atienza’s statement saying it is discriminatory and homophobic. Atienza took his defense saying he is not a homophobe and cited an article from CNBC, an American cable business news channel. 

The article particularly cautioned gay and bisexual men to limit sexual partners to reduce the spread of monkeypox as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Citing WHO, the article also claimed that men having sex with men are “at the highest risk of infection right now from monkeypox.”

According to the WHO website, most reported cases so far have “involved mainly, but not exclusively, men who have sex with men.”

Atienza further clarified he never said monkeypox is an STD but only that it is spread through sexual contact and other means.

After receiving backlash, Atienza has expressed his apology particularly to members of the LGBT community. 

“Some of the things I said were ambiguous and caused a lot of hurt especially to members of the LGBTQ community,” he said.

“You are correct Monkeypox is sexually transmitted but also by non sexual close contact. (It is) not an STD,” he noted. 

Atienza then admitted that he was wrong to say that “it's usually spread M to M” as monkeypox can be spread by any person regardless of gender.

According to WHO, close contact with infected persons is the most significant risk factor for monkeypox virus infection. 

It furthered that the public can protect themselves by avoiding skin-to-skin, face-to-face and mouth-to-skin contact, including sexual contact.