Monkey pox. Corentin was infected with the virus: “You have to talk about it without taboo”

Corentin, 27, was infected with monkeypox in Paris. (©Instagram / c.hennebert)

“I’m much better”, launches from the first moment CorentinWednesday, July 6, 2022. Ten days ago, the 27-year-old, author and director of a youth theater company in Paris, did not hold the same speech. “Unbearable” pain when walking, sitting, sleeping… This was his day-to-day life for several days. Corentin was infected with monkey pox.

One week from first symptoms to diagnosis

It all starts a few days before June 21. Since fever outbreaks and the pains push him to get tested for Covid-19. The test is negative. Then “extremely painful lesions appeared on the anal mucosa, which I first took for hemorrhoids,” he says. He somehow continues to “live” his life and see friends.

But the pain persists, he decides to leave. to emergencies in a Paris hospital three days later. “They took classic samples from me and, as a precaution, they added that for monkeypox” because the virus “was circulating a lot at that time,” the caregivers explain. “It’s the first time I’ve heard it was a possibility,” admits Corentin.

The diagnosis falls four days later, that is, one week after the appearance of the first symptoms: it is in fact the monkey pox. The hospital then gives you instructions to follow: self-isolation for three weeks and cover up with long clothing and wear a mask when shopping. “As there is No treatmentThey told me that the day I had no more injuries or pimples, they would consider me cured. »

Do not mix

Corentin’s first reaction to the announcement of the diagnosis: astonishment.

At no time did I think this was going to be like this. I had heard a little about it when there were the first cases. But that quickly faded into the background. There was no information about the virus, its symptoms, its routes of contamination, there was no prevention, it never came into play. Perhaps if I had been better informed earlier, I would have taken the test earlier and isolated myself earlier, without running the risk of seeing friends.

Corentin

After, gonna settle. On July 6, then isolated at home for several days, he decided, in a Twitter thread, to declare: “I have highly revered monkeypox (…) The opportunity for me to do a bit of prevention, friends”, is what the hospital said. me”, he wrote in a first tweet.

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“I saw a lot of nonsense, lies, people in panic… I told myself that, as a patient, I had received the correct information from the hospital and from Santé Publique France. I made these tweets to be transparent, to explain how you catch it, to remind you to be careful, and most of all, Do not mix“, He insists.

In fact, while the majority of known cases involve men who have had sex with men (MSM), Corentin reminds us that monkeypox does not only affect this community because monkeypox is not It is not a sexually transmitted infection. (IST). It’s okay by contact with mucous membranes or the lesions of an infected person that can be contaminated. “You can get it from the sheets, the dishes… There have been cases in women and children. »

Victim of a wave of homophobia

His tweets had an “unprecedented” impact I “didn’t expect”. “In the process, I received messages from people telling me that they had the same symptoms as me. I didn’t make a diagnosis because I’m not a doctor, but I referred them to the ER,” she says. It turned out that several people were carriers of the virus.

In this wave of responses, he also received “a torrent of mud” and “hundreds” of homophobic messages. “I wasn’t particularly surprised,” she says, referring to what happened 40 years ago with the discovery of AIDS. “It’s quite telling that mindsets haven’t changed,” she laments.

However, the Do not regret anything and followed expose yourselfespecially through the media.

If I do it is also because I believe in putting a face to the disease. I’m not ashamed of having contracted monkeypox. Yes, because there is no shame in contracting any disease. If it can also carry this message of lack of prevention, if it can help some people feel guilty, then I will continue to do so.

Corentin

A targeted campaign

Herein lies mainly the anger and indignation of the young author and director: the lack Information and prevention on monkeypox. In particular, he blames Public authorities who, according to him, would take too long to react “for fear of stigmatization, discrimination” towards the homosexual community, “which seems totally stupid to me.”

” We need to talk no taboo, recognize. We all remember what happened with HIV, we can’t worry about it, otherwise we will waste our time. It is campaigning for the establishment of a “targeted campaign”, especially in strategic places, such as nightclubs and bars.

“You have to be both informative and educational, saying ‘Be careful, you are a risk category’, while stressing that anyone can be affected. Because if we act according to homophobes, then we don’t do anything anymore, ”she breathes. According to him, it is a disease that can be “eradicated quickly, just put the package.”

For his part, Corentin remains especially active on Twitter, “I have become the benchmark for monkeypox,” he laughs. As for health, “the pain is almost gone, I’m starting to heal,” says the young man. He has about ten days left in solitary confinement.

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