GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The latest virus spreading across the nation is motivating some members of the LGBTQ community to speak up about its spread.

“We all need to worry about it because it’s a health crisis,” said Jazz McKinney, the Grand Rapids Pride Center executive director.

Doctors said men who have sex with men are at the highest risk of contracting monkeypox, but activists said writing the virus off as a so-called “gay virus” is dangerous.

“It’s just super harmful. It makes people not want to get tested. It makes people not want to reach out to their healthcare providers,” said McKinney. “We can look back to the AIDS crisis and how that was stigmatized as a gay cancer or whatever. Now, it’s spread amongst everyone.”

Doctors at the Kent County Health Department are fighting this stigma with education.

“This is not a sexually transmitted disease. Anyone can develop the illness, and anyone can transmit,” said Dr. Nirali Bora, the Kent County Health Department medical director. “There have been women who have had monkeypox, and there are children who’ve had monkeypox through other exposures as well.”

Medical experts said monkeypox primarily spreads through direct skin-to-skin contact. They recommend getting vaccinated within 14 days from the date of exposure.

Meanwhile, LGBTQ activists call on all communities to do their part to slow transmission.

“We have to try to be preventative and proactive as opposed to just waiting until you get it to be reactive,” said McKinney.