National Mpox Working Group Sends Letter to Congress Calling for $900 million in Funding

by Jared Todd

40 leading LGBTQ+, public health, medical and HIV/AIDS organizations, including Human Rights Campaign, National Coalition of STD Directors and National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO) signed on to the letter urging Congress to provide funding for health clinics and community organizations to fully combat mpox

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, in partnership with 39 other leading public health, HIV/AIDS, medical and LGBTQ+ organizations, signed on to a letter sent to the Committee on Appropriations calling for $900 million in mpox response funding.

President of the Human Rights Campaign, Kelley Robinson, released the following statement:

After nearly 30,000 cases of mpox and 19 deaths reported by the CDC, health clinics and organizations on the front lines remain overwhelmed and historically underfunded. It’s unacceptable. We urge Congress to ensure every cent needed to combat mpox and to reach BIPOC LGBTQ+ communities with critical information and vaccines is included in the fiscal year 2023 omnibus appropriations. We call on Congress to consider the many local clinics and community-based organizations that continue to run on fumes after being depleted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a moment in which our federal government must reach out in partnership to help the incredible work these organizations do to protect the health and well-being of their communities on a daily basis. With this funding, Congress has a chance to begin to address a discriminatory and antiquated public health system that has continually sidelined multiply marginalized communities. Let’s not miss this opportunity."

Kelley Robinson, Human Rights Campaign President

A breakdown of the requested funding in the letter is as follows:

1. $400 million to restore the smallpox vaccine stockpile;

2. $250 million to state and local public health departments for testing capacity, vaccine administration, surveillance, and epidemiology studies for mpox; and

3. $250 million for community health centers, Ryan White and STI clinics and providers on the front lines of mpox to replenish supplies, alleviate staffing shortages, and restore capacity.

As of December 2, the CDC have reported 29,630 confirmed cases of mpox and 19 deaths in the United States. The outbreak has primarily affected gay and bisexual men and transgender individuals who have sex with men. Although cases continue to fall, 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 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.

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