by Jared Todd •
116 organizations signed on to a letter urging the White House and Congress to provide funding to help eradicate the MPXV outbreak and to ensure equitable access to care and vaccines
WASHINGTON - This week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) penned a letter to elected leaders calling for more funding and action to help stop the MPXV outbreak. Over 100 LGBTQ+, health and religious advocacy organizations – including PrEP4All and the National Coalition of STD Directors – signed on to the letter which was sent to the Biden Administration and Congress. This letter comes at a time in which Congress has decided not to include funding for MPXV in the Continuing Resolution to fund the government into December. This decision will only hamper ongoing efforts to end MPXV at a critical moment when the outbreak can still be contained.
As of September 27, the CDC have reported 25,341 confirmed cases of MPXV in the United States. The outbreak has primarily affected gay and bisexual men and transgender individuals who have sex with men. Although overall cases are falling, the virus is having a substantial impact on BIPOC communities and individuals living with HIV – a direct effect of ongoing systemic health care inequities.
The letter was sent to underscore urgent needs with the following points:
Increased and transparent funding, including a continued push for at least $100 million in funding for sexual health clinics as well as asking the Department of Health and Human Services to redirect existing funds until Congress acts.
Prioritization of funding to sexual health clinics and community-based organizations; money allocated to no-cost testing, treatment, contact tracing, training and hiring of medical professionals, and data collection; and funding for more community education initiatives with culturally competent educators operating from a stigma-free, scientifically accurate approach.
Distribution of the vaccine should be prioritized to health care providers in Black and Latinx communities as well as those who work with gay and bisexual men, transgender women, and nonbinary people. In addition, congregate care settings such as prisons, jails, halfway houses, and homeless shelters should receive all needed vaccines and treatments. This distribution must be accompanied by tailored educational materials.
Data collection: The lack of comprehensive data on MPXV hampers both public education efforts as well as the development of solutions that reduce disparities. As of last reporting, data share agreements have been signed by 51 jurisdictions to provide a nationwide look at distribution of infections and vaccine uptakes. The administration must encourage the remaining jurisdictions to execute their agreements to ensure a whole of government approach.
Public education: The rollout of any guidance should provide context and be accompanied by educational efforts to combat misinformation.
Changing the name: It is incumbent upon all of us to acknowledge that monkeypox has racist connotations which influence how many people, especially Black people (who are disproportionately impacted by the virus), will associate with MPXV and the solutions connected to it. We appreciate the Biden administration’s embrace of alternative language and request that the administration work to educate those still using the problematic name.
The letter was signed by the following organizations:
A Better Balance, ADAP Advocacy Association, Advocates for Youth, AIDS Alabama, AIDS Alabama South, AIDS Foundation Chicago, AIDS United, APLA Health, Atlanta Pride Committee, Bayard Rustin Center For Social Justice, CA LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research (CLEAR), Center on Halsted, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, COLAGE, Community Access National Network, Compass LGBTQ Community Center, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, Eastern PA Trans Equity Project, Equality California, Equality Federation, Equality Nevada, Equitas Health, Fast-Track Cities Institute, Federal City Performing Arts Association, Fenway Health, FORGE, Inc., GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ+ Equality, Great Lakes Bay Pride, Haus of a Stranger, Henderson Equality Center, HIPS, Hispanic Federation, Housing Works, Howard Brown Health, Hudson Pride Center, Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation, Human Rights Campaign, Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center, Indivisible, International Association of Providers of AIDS Care, JASMYN, Jewish Women International, Justice in Aging, Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition, Lancaster LGBTQ+ Community, Latino Equality Alliance, LGBT Center of Greater Reading, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Lyon-Martin Community Health Services, Mazzoni Center, Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley, Metropolitan Community Churches, Minority Veterans of America, MomsRising, Movement Advancement Project, MPact Global Action, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Coalition of STD Directors, National Health Law Program, National LGBT Cancer Network, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, National Women's Law Center, National Working Positive Coalition, Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, New Haven Pride Center, North County LGBTQ Resource Center, North Las Vegas Equality Center, North Shore Alliance of GLBTQ+ Youth, Inc., Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, Oasis Legal Services, one-n-ten, OutReach LGBTQ+ Community Center, OutRight Action International, Parable of the Sower Intentional Community Cooperative, PFLAG National, PlusInc, Positive Women's Network-USA, PrEP4All, Pride Center of Staten Island, Pride Community Center of North Central Florida, Pride Community Center, Inc (Brazos Valley, Texas), Rainbow Center, Resource Center, Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church, Sacramento LGBT Community Center, San Francisco Community Health Center, San José State University PRIDE Center, Silver State Equality-Nevada, SOJOURN: Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity, Solano Pride Center, St. John's MCC, Stonewall Columbus, Inc, Synergía, initiatives for human rights, The Center: 7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection, The DC Center for the LGBT Community, The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert, The LOFT LGBTQ+ Community Center, The Pride Center at Equality Park, The Rainbow Bridge Community Center, inc., The Source LGBT+ Center, The Spahr Center, Transhealth, Transinclusive Group, Tranzmission, Inc, Treatment Action Group, Union for Reform Judaism, Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance (UGLA), Washington County Gay Straight Alliance, Inc., Waves Ahead Corp Puerto Rico, We Are Family, Whitman-Walker Institute
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. Since its founding 45 years ago, NCLR has maintained a longstanding commitment to racial and economic justice and the most underrepresented in the LGBTQ community. www.nclrights.org
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