Kyle Sandilands has been called out by an LGBTQ body for “hurtful” and “unhelpful” comments he made about Monkeypox this week, as the virus continues to spread in Australia.

The shock jock described Monkeypox as “the big gay disease floating around” and made a number of jokes about it during Tuesday’s segment of The Kyle and Jackie O Show, prompting a response from the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisation.

Sandilands had been discussing his request for co-host Jackie ‘O’ Henderson to be vaccinated against whooping cough before visiting his newborn son, Otto, when producer Ross asked whether he needed to have the Monkeypox vaccine before visiting.

“No, we’re not letting any gays near him,” Sandilands quipped in response, before suggesting they call Ross’ partner Damien to ask if he was concerned about catching the virus.

“The Monkeypox. The big gay disease floating around, it’s only gays getting it. Are you worried about getting it?” Sandilands asked Damien.

“No, not at all,” Damien replied, before the radio host asked, “Have you seen all the big dirty scabs that everyone gets?”

A medical expert, dubbed Dr KIIS, was then invited onto the show to explain the risk of fatality and transmission of the disease.

“There is a small fatality, yes … Only a small rate, but there is,” Dr KIIS said, to which Sandilands joked, “Are you dismissing it because they’re gay?”

Though the World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that 95.6 percent of Monkeypox cases were among men who have sex with men, including gay and bisexual men, anyone can catch the virus through sexual contact, contaminated clothing, and respiratory droplets during face-to-face contact.

As of August 26, nearly 400 women have caught the virus, with the majority being heterosexual and predominantly being infected through sexual contact.

In response to Sandilands’ comments, a spokesman for the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations said they would be happy to host a “private briefing” with the controversial radio host to help him “play a constructive role” in Australia’s response to Monkeypox.

“Comments such as this are not just hurtful, they are also deeply unhelpful,” the spokesman told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Right now, thousands of gay and bisexual men are doing the right thing by monitoring for Monkeypox symptoms, to look after their health and that of their partners. Over the next few months, we will be asking these men to come forward to be vaccinated.

“When people hear segments such as this, it inflames stigma and deters people from visiting healthcare clinics to be tested and vaccinated.

“We would be very happy to provide a private briefing for Mr Sandilands so that he can play a constructive role in the national Monkeypox response.”

Professor Brett Sutton, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, took to Twitter to argue that Sandilands should stay quiet if he had nothing contructive to say.

“Please remind me – what’s the point of Kyle Sandilands?” Professor Sutton wrote.

“If you can’t say something constructive, maybe keep quiet?”

Dr Martin Holt, a long-time researcher of HIV prevention at the University of New South Wales, told the ABC that there was a need for careful messaging around Monkeypox to avoid furthering stigma or prompting hateful rhetoric from anti-LGTQ segments of the community.

“I think the biggest risk at this point … is the victim-blaming language that we saw was incredibly toxic in the ’80s with HIV, and that we have spent decades trying to counter,” Dr Holt said.

“We have to keep saying that you haven’t done anything wrong; if you get exposed to monkeypox or you get monkeypox, it’s not your fault.”

Sandilands’ comments come as the Australian LGBTQ community faces continued concerns around the transmission of the virus, with Monkeypox being declared a Communicable Disease of National Significance on July 28, five days after the WHO declared the outbreak a public health emergency.

According to Reuters, the WHO has reported a 21 percent decline in cases of Monkeypox this week, with signs that the outbreak is slowing in Europe.

Image: @kyleandjackieo (Instagram)

This article first appeared on OverSixty.