They, along with leaders of some national LGBTQ organizations, are angry with the federal government for its “lack of urgency” regarding the ongoing epidemic.
They feel abandoned by the government and want monkey disease now declared a public health emergency.
“Once again, we’re faced with a time when non-emergency response fills our community with fear, unanswered questions, and justified anger. It’s a time when we’re left with inaction,” Tyler TerMeer, CEO. The San Francisco AIDS Foundation said Tuesday.
“This is unacceptable and completely preventable,” TerMeer said. “Our community of resilient people once again had to support each other, nurture each other, and fight for access to the resources they need and deserve.”
Monkeypox can infect anyone, but the majority of outbreaks in the U.S. are men who have sex with men, including gay and bisexual men and people who identify as transgender.
Since June, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced a concerted effort to provide extensive education and outreach to the LGBTQ community.
The agency says it has worked with the umbrella organization for local pride committees to raise awareness. He has produced educational videos, works with groups and networks dealing with health disparities whose workers may be at risk of monkeypox, and created awareness campaigns on Instagram and on popular dating apps in the gay community such as Scruff, Adam4Adam and Grindr. The agency also plans to participate in listening sessions with LGBTQ community groups.
But those efforts haven’t shortened lines for vaccines or eliminated the massive paperwork needed to access treatment.
US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said last week that the federal government’s response to the monkeypox outbreak across the country will be used to consider whether to declare its own public health emergency.
“We have made vaccines, tests and treatments far beyond what is currently required and available to all jurisdictions that operate public health systems,” he said.
“We weigh any decision to declare a public health emergency based on the response we’re seeing across the country. The bottom line is that we need to be able to get ahead of this and stop this epidemic.”
Torrian Baskerville, director of HIV and health equity at the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ+ rights group, said community members should not have created their own online tracking system to determine when and where vaccine treatments are available. Lack of information from local government agencies.
“Our system is not set up to respond effectively to these emergencies, especially when it affects vulnerable and often marginalized populations,” Baskerville said.
A man with clear symptoms of monkeypox told Baskerville that he was shunned by the local health department, refused examination and treatment despite coming during clinic hours.
Another said he faced eviction to Baskerville. Monkey has been unable to work for more than 25 days with chickenpox symptoms, saying he has been denied medical leave three times and still has symptoms, requiring at least five days of isolation.
Another said she had to lie about how many sexual partners she had had in the past two weeks because some state and local health departments ration vaccines, giving them only to people who had three or more partners in the past two weeks.
“The frustrations and concerns of gay and bisexual men and transgender men and women are the most affected at the moment. [monkeypox] It’s very real and transparent,” said Bakersville.
Several public health experts say the U.S. missed an opportunity to contain the monkeypox virus because it was too slow to act.
As of Monday night, there were at least 5,811 confirmed or possible cases of monkeypox in the U.S., which experts say is still a small number.
With limited supplies and growing awareness of the virus and some of its painful consequences, vaccination appointments are going fast.
David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said Tuesday that the organization invited public health clinic directors from around the country to meet with the Biden administration to talk about how they feel about this episode of monkeypox. very familiar. Management of monkeypox is similar to the early days of HIV and Covid-19, he said.
“Program after program has addressed the fear and stigma towards gay men. [monkeypox]vaccine shortages, burned-out staff, lack of funding to cover an unexpected public health emergency,” he said.
He called the outbreak “out of control” and added that it is something many public health leaders have warned will happen unless the federal government takes urgent action.
Congress also needs to act quickly to pass the $21 billion Pandemic Preparedness Act, he said, because local health workers need more money and the country needs to reduce and eliminate barriers to testing, care, vaccines and grants.
Harvey lashed out at a press conference last week, saying that “everybody needs to do their part” and that local jurisdictions need to “work” with HHS. are using vaccines.
Becerra said communities should work to prevent the spread of monkeypox and distribute vaccines. If this does not work, more vaccines will be needed.
“But if everyone does their part,” he said, “can we not only stay ahead of the virus, but stop this epidemic? Absolutely.”
Harvey thinks local health leaders have tried to do the best they can with the resources they have.
“States and local populations really need to respond to aspects of this epidemic on their own. This is contrary to comments made by Secretary Becerra last week, who appeared to blame states and cities for not responding adequately,” he said. “Dear Secretary, we are destroying the Americans today is. This is the public health debacle that has followed Covid and the various early days of HIV in this country. It is time to reverse this situation.”