Fact check: Altered image shows fabricated magazine headline about monkeypox stigma

·3 min read

The claim: Image shows headline in The Atlantic about straight men and monkeypox stigma

The Biden administration on August 4 declared monkeypox a public health emergency, as more than 7,000 Americans have become infected with the virus. Monkeypox is spread through person-to-person contact, usually through infected skin lesions, or by touching recently contaminated objects.

While anyone can get monkeypox and it is not a sexually transmitted infection, men who have sex with men have made up the majority of reported cases. Experts are now concerned that misinformation about the virus and how it is transmitted will lead Americans to think monkeypox is a "gay man disease," perpetuating stigma against the LGBTQ community.

An Aug. 3 Facebook post has helped spread misinformation about the virus being an STI. It shows an image of fabricated headlines from a nonexistent article by The Atlantic.

The purported headline reads, "My First Gay Orgy." The supposed subheadline reads: "Straight Men Are In A Unique Position To End The Stigma Surrounding Monkey Pox."

A spokesperson for The Atlantic said the story and the headlines were not real.

USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the claim for comment.

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The image of the purported story also appeared in an Aug. 3 Instagram post, which has since been deleted. Before the Instagram post was deleted, it accrued more than 3,000 likes in less than a day. The Instagram user who posted the image told USA TODAY it was satire.

People line up at a monkeypox vaccination site on Thursday, July 28, 2022, in Encino, Calif. California's public health officer said they are pressing for more vaccine and closely monitoring the spread of the monkeypox virus.
People line up at a monkeypox vaccination site on Thursday, July 28, 2022, in Encino, Calif. California's public health officer said they are pressing for more vaccine and closely monitoring the spread of the monkeypox virus.

Image in social media post is altered

The image in the social media post does not depict real headlines, and The Atlantic never wrote this story, Anna Bross, a spokesperson for The Atlantic, told USA TODAY.

The story was not published on The Atlantic's website and does not appear on The Atlantic's Twitter account.

Fact check: Social media post shows fabricated story about Biden and the economy

Tom Nichols – a contributing writer at The Atlantic – appears as the author in the post's image, but there is no evidence that he wrote such an article.

Our rating: Altered

Based on our research, we rate ALTERED an image that claims to show The Atlantic ran a story about straight men and monkeypox stigma. A spokesperson for The Atlantic said the story and the headlines in the image are not real.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Altered image shows fabricated story about monkeypox