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When Stigma, Disclosure, and Access to Care Collide: An Ethical Reflection of Mpox Vaccination Outreach.

Public Health Reports 2023 October 17
Experiences of stigma in health care encounters among LGBTQ+ populations (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and questioning) have long been a barrier to care. Marginalization and historically grounded fears of stigmatization have contributed to a reluctance to disclose sexual behavior and/or gender identity to health care providers. We reflect on how student nurses grappled with the ethics of patient disclosure while providing mobile outreach in Chicago for mpox (formerly monkeypox) from fall 2022 to spring 2023. Student nurses addressed how requiring disclosure of sexual behavior or sexual orientation may serve as a barrier to accessing preventive care, such as mpox vaccination. Accounts of stigma and criminalization experienced by LGBTQ+ people provide insight on challenges historically associated with disclosure in health care.

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