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 monkeypox (MPXV) outbreak.
More than 100 LGBTQ+, health and religious advocacy organizations including PrEP4All and the National Coalition of STD Directors signed on to the letter that 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.
As of Sept. 27, the CDC has reported more than 25,000 confirmed cases of MPXV in the United States. The outbreak has primarily affected gay and bisexual men as well as transgender individuals who have sex with men. Although cases are falling overall, the virus is having a substantial impact on BIPOC communities and individuals living with HIVa direct effect of ongoing systemic healthcare inequities.
"We are disheartened that at a critical juncture in the fight to stop the spread of MPXV, members of Congress have made the dangerous choice to reject funding to stop its spread in the upcoming Continuing Resolution vote," said NCLR Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon (she/her). "We are already seeing the disparate impacts that MPXV is having on some of the most marginalized and underrepresented communitiesincluding Black and Latinx individuals, gay, bi+, transgender and non-binary folks, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
"Denying this urgently-needed funding will only perpetuate the dire health disparities that these underserved communities continually face. We are demanding that Congress take immediate action to provide the funds needed to end this outbreak that has already caused much pain and suffering for tens of thousands of LGBTQ+ individuals."
The letter asked for increased and transparent funding; the prioritization of funding to sexual health clinics and community-based organizations; the prioritization of distribution to Black and Latinx communities; data collection; public education; and the changing of the disease's name, citing its racist connotations.
Just a few of the other organizations who signed the letter were AIDS Foundation Chicago, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, the Bayard Rustin Center For Social Justice, Center on Halsted, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Howard Brown Health, the Whitman-Walker Institute, OutRight Action International, Minority Veterans of America and the Movement Advancement Project.