President Joe Biden's monkeypox adviser appeared on stage in bondage gear last month at an event where, as part of his official duties, he discussed "sex positivity" during pandemics.
A video that started making the rounds on social media over the weekend showed Demetre Daskalakis, the White House deputy monkeypox response coordinator, strutting onto the rainbow-lit dais and rallying the crowd as dance music blared. Daskalakis, wearing a business suit and sex harness, was escorted by two shirtless men wearing brightly-colored bikini bottoms and matching socks.
The occasion was the seventh annual Biomedical HIV Prevention Summit on April 11 and 12 at The Cosmopolitan, a casino hotel in Las Vegas. Daskalakis took part in the kickoff panel discussion, which was titled "'Sex is natural, sex is fun.' The politics of sex and pleasure in the age of pandemics" according to the event website. The panelists—who included a transgender "equity consultant" and a "sex-positive Leatherman"—explored "the historical perspectives on the politics of sex positivity during the last four decades of the HIV pandemic to the present days of COVID and MPOX." Specific topics included "kinks, barebacking, fetish, BDSM, Chemex, group sex, bathhouses/sex clubs, porn, consent, and more."
Daskalakis was described as "on assignment" in his role as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's director of the division of HIV/AIDS prevention—for which he was paid a taxpayer-funded salary of about $246,000 last year. Other conference sessions advocated federal funding of HIV prevention medication. The lead sponsor of the conference was PrEP manufacturer Gilead Sciences.
The conference's "sex positive" theme appeared to be in tension with CDC guidelines for limiting the spread of monkeypox, which the agency implicitly acknowledges is primarily spread through sex between men.
"Limit your number of sex partners to reduce your likelihood of exposure," use condoms, and be aware that "back rooms, saunas, sex clubs, or private and public sex parties" are potential spreading events, the CDC advises. But, in a nod to the BDSM community, the CDC adds: "Leather or latex gear also provides a barrier to skin-to-skin contact; just be sure to change or clean clothes/gear between partners and after use."
A global outbreak of monkeypox has subsided since last summer, when Biden named Daskalakis to the response team and belatedly focused prevention efforts on gay men. Last week, however, the CDC warned that "the risk of resurgent mpox outbreaks is substantial in the United States."
Also last week, Sam Brinton, the "genderfluid" baggage thief who once served as Biden's top nuclear waste disposal expert, was arrested as a "fugitive from justice" in conjunction with a third baggage theft.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.