They, along with leaders of some national LGBTQ organizations, are frustrated and angry at the federal government’s “lack of urgency” about the ongoing outbreak.
They say they feel abandoned by the government and want monkeypox to be declared a public health emergency now.
“We are once again in a moment where a lack of urgency and inadequate response has filled our community with fear, unanswered questions and justifiable anger. We have been abandoned by inaction. It’s a moment,” the San Francisco AIDS Foundation said on Tuesday.
“This is unacceptable and cannot be completely prevented,” said TerMeer. “Our community of resilient people has had to rise up again to support each other, educate each other, and fight for access to the resources they need and deserve. ”
Monkeypox can infect anyone, but the majority of outbreaks in the United States are among men who have sex with men, including gay and bisexual men, and among people who identify as transgender. has occurred.
Since June, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said it has made concerted efforts to provide extensive education and outreach to the LGBTQ community.
The agency said it worked with local pride committee umbrella organizations to raise awareness. Dating apps popular with Instagram and the gay community such as Scruff, Adam4Adam and Grindr, releasing educational videos, working with groups tackling health disparities and industries where workers may be exposed to monkeypox created an awareness campaign. The agency will also participate in listening sessions with LGBTQ community groups.
But these efforts have not shortened the vaccine queue or eliminated the extensive paperwork required to gain access to treatment.
The federal government is monitoring the country’s monkeypox response and will use that to consider whether to declare its own public health emergency, said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. said last week.
“We have made vaccines, tests and treatments far in excess of what is needed today and made them available to all jurisdictions that manage public health systems,” he said.
“We will consider the decision to declare a public health emergency based on the response we are seeing across the country. The bottom line is that we need to be able to get ahead of it and end this outbreak. ”
Torrian Baskerville, HIV and health equity director for the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ+ rights advocacy organization, said community members are working on their own to find out when and where vaccines and treatments are available. It said it didn’t need to create an online tracking system for Lack of information from local authorities.
“Our systems are not set up to respond effectively to these emergencies, especially when they affect vulnerable and often marginalized populations,” Baskerville said. I’m here.
A man with obvious signs of monkeypox said he was turned away from the local health department and denied testing and treatment, even though he arrived during office hours.
Another man told Baskerville that he faced eviction. He’s been quarantined for more than 25 days with monkeypox symptoms and can’t work, he’s been denied medical leave three times and still has symptoms so he’ll have to be quarantined for at least another 5 days. said.
Another woman lies about her recent number of sexual partners because some state and local health officials had to distribute vaccines only to those who had had three or more partners in the past two weeks. said there was a need.
“The frustrations and concerns of gay and bisexual men and transgender men and women who are most affected at the moment are [monkeypox] It’s very real and clear,” said Bakersville.
Some public health experts say the United States has missed an opportunity to contain the monkeypox virus.
As of Monday night, the United States had tallied at least 5,811 confirmed or probable monkeypox cases, though experts say the number is still fairly low.
With limited supplies and growing awareness of the virus and its then painful effects, vaccination appointments are moving quickly.
David C. Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said Tuesday that the organization invited directors of public health clinics across the country to meet Monday with the Biden administration to discuss how this part of the monkeypox outbreak is going. He said that he talked about what it felt like to be familiar.Managing monkeypox is like the early days of HIV and his Covid-19, He said.
“Through program after program, we talked about the fear and stigma gays experience in relationships with men. [monkeypox]lack of vaccines, burnt-out staff and lack of funds to cover unforeseen public health emergencies,” he said.
He called the outbreak “out of control,” and many public health leaders have warned if the federal government doesn’t act urgently.
Congress must also act quickly to approve the $21 billion Pandemic Preparedness Act, he said.
Harvey was particularly critical of Becerra, who said at a press conference last week that “everyone has to paddle with oars. Everyone has to do their part.” , we need to “work with” HHS on how HHS reports data.
Becerra said communities need to work to prevent the spread of monkeypox and distribute vaccines. Without that job, we would need more vaccines.
“But if everyone does their job, can we not only stay ahead of the virus, but end this outbreak? Absolutely,” he said.
Harvey believes local health leaders have worked harder than ever to do what they can with the resources they have.
“States and local governments are really left to respond to many aspects of this outbreak on their own, which contrasts with comments Secretary Becerra made last week,” he said. “Secretary, we are betraying the American people. today. And this is a public health failure following Covid and various early days of HIV in this country. It’s time to turn this situation around. ”