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.
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.
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.
Our fact-check sources:
The Atlantic, accessed Aug. 4, Homepage
The Atlantic, accessed Aug. 4, Twitter profile
The Atlantic, accessed Aug. 4, Tom Nichols
Anna Bross, Aug. 4, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed Aug. 4, 2022 U.S. Map & Case Count
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 22, About Monkeypox
USA TODAY, Aug. 4, Biden administration declares monkeypox a public health emergency
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Altered image shows fabricated story about monkeypox