Equitas Health Joins Over 150 LGBTQ+ Groups to Argue For Culturally Humble and Urgent Response to Monkeypox (MPX) | Equitas Health

Blog 8/19/22

Equitas Health Joins Over 150 LGBTQ+ Groups to Argue For Culturally Humble and Urgent Response to Monkeypox (MPX)

The monkeypox emergency is a threat to public health. In early August, Equitas Health joined over 150 LGBTQ+ organizations in a call for greater action from the government. Led by CenterLink, the organizations sent the CDC a letter on behalf of LGBTQ+ people across the country. The letter included the following demands:

  • Funding for LGBTQ+ groups that are educating, vaccinating, and treating patients;
  • More monkeypox vaccines;
  • More access to testing;
  • Data collection of sexual orientation and gender identity during the crisis; and
  • Clear and ongoing data to educate the public and fight stigma.

We’re proud to sign this letter in solidarity with organizations here in Ohio and across the country. With rising cases and a ‘testing bottleneck,’ there is more work to do. We will continue to fight for culturally humble and urgent action from the CDC. None of us can afford to take the monkeypox crisis lightly.

The full letter is below. To learn more about monkeypox, visit mpx.equitashealth.com.


August 2nd, 2022

Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky
Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30329-4027

Dear Dr. Walensky,

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers and the member centers signed below are writing to request assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the rise of the hMPXV virus is of immediate concern to the LGBTQ+ community.

We request that the CDC supports our community and our varied efforts to combat this virus by:

  • Providing funding that can be distributed to LGBTQ+ community centers who are on the ground daily educating, vaccinating, and treating patients. By funding trusted messenger organizations such as LGBTQ+ community centers, we will be able to further educate our communities about hMPXV and assist local public health agencies in vaccine promotion for higher-risk community members, as our centers did with the COVID-19 vaccine and continue to do when addressing HIV/AIDS.
  • Increasing the number of available vaccines. We know that there is a scarcity of hMPXV vaccines available and recognize the progress made to produce 800k more doses in collaboration with the FDA. But as this virus continues to spread, our community must be prepared, and part of that preparation includes having enough vaccines for those who need them.
  • Expanding testing and increasing patient access to testing. While the CDC has recently begun shipping hMPXV tests to five of the largest commercial labs across the country, increasing availability is critical. County public health agencies and the community-based organizations they partner with are in desperate need of sufficient testing for all those at risk of contracting hMPXV.
  • Collecting sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data throughout the duration of the outbreak. The collection of SOGI data is a critical step in systematically documenting and addressing health disparities affecting LGBTQ+ persons.
  • Releasing clear and consistent data so that everyone throughout the US is able to understand the outbreak and make informed decisions on how to protect themselves.

While public health departments are still investigating transmissions, both the World Health Organization and the CDC have expressed concern that a significant majority of confirmed transmissions have been between transgender women, gay and bisexual men, as well as men who have sex with men (MSM). LGBTQ+ community centers are uniquely situated to support those at risk because we operate within the very communities where the virus is currently spreading.

LGBTQ+ centers are already working to help limit the spread and protect impacted individuals and communities. From holding hMPXV testing and vaccination clinics to writing letters to their local lawmakers asking for support to collaborating with the White House to hold an informational webinar; LGBTQ+ community centers are taking on the difficult task of serving those affected by this virus. Local community centers serving LGBTQ+ people provide vital information, education, and health services to over 58,000 people each week. Despite the fact that many of our centers are consistently underfunded, their reach is vast, and their commitment unwavering to ensure that their communities are protected and served.

While the CDC claims to be doing the work necessary to contain the virus through vaccination and the spread of education, as of August 3rd, 2022, the United States has recorded 6,300 cases across fifty jurisdictions – some of the highest case numbers in the world. This is concerning as we have seen through experience with HIV/AIDS just how much the LGBTQ+ community has suffered.

We implore that our requests for the protection of our communities not be left unheard. We implore the CDC to step up and protect this country’s most vulnerable populations by taking significant actions toward stopping the spread of the hMPXV virus.

Sincerely,

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers

Ace and Aro Alliance of Central Ohio

All Under One Roof LGBT Advocates of Southeastern Idaho

Atlanta Pride Committee

Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice

Bayard Rustin Community Center

Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center

Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth (BAGLY)

Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center

Bridges United

Brooklyn Community Pride Center

CAMP Rehoboth, Inc.

Caribbean Equality Project [CEP]

Center on Halsted

Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation

Compton’s Table, Inc

Dakota OutRight

Delmarva Pride Center

Diversity Center of Oklahoma Inc.

Diversity Richmond

EDGE New Jersey

Equality Center of the Rocky Mountains

Equality Community Center

Equitas Health (Ohio)

First City Pride Center

Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ+ Center

GenderNexus

Grand Rapids Pride Center

Great Lakes Bay Pride

Guilford Green Foundation & LGBTQ Center

Hamptons LGBT Center

Heartland Equality

Henderson Equality Center

Hetrick-Martin Institute

HIGH IMPACTO

Hudson Pride Center

Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center

Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation

I Am Human Foundation

Identity Health Clinic

Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center

Indiana Youth Group

Inside Out Youth Services

Institute for LGBT Health

JASMYN

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

Latino Equality Alliance

Lexington Pride Center

LGBT Center of Greater Reading

LGBT Center of SE Wisconsin

LGBT Detroit

LGBT Life Center

LGBT+ Center Orlando, Inc.

LGBTQ Center at UNF

LGBTQ Center OC

LGBTQ Community Center of Southern Nevada

LGBTQ+ Spectrum of Findlay

LGBTQ+ youth programs at Planned Parenthood Keystone

Long Island LGBT Center (LGBT Network)

Los Angeles LGBT Center

LYRIC (Lavender Youth Recreation Information Center)

Merced Pride Center

MoPride Center

Muncie OUTreach

Naper Pride

New Haven Pride Center

New York LGBT Network

Newark Ohio Pride Coalition

NorCal OUTreach Project

North County LGBTQ Resource Center

North Shore Alliance of GLBTQ+ Youth (NAGLY)

Oakland LBGTQ Community Center

One In Long Beach, Inc. dba The LGBTQ Center Long Beach

one-n-ten

Onslow county lgbtq community center

Our Center

Our Family Coalition

Out Boulder County

Out in the Open

Out On The Lakeshore

OutCenter Southwest Michigan

OutFront Kalamazoo

OUTMemphis

Outright Vermont

Pacific Center for Human Growth

Pacific Pride Foundation

Pizza Klatch

Pomona Pride Center, Inc.

Power Safe Place Resource Center of Virginia

Pride Center of Staten Island

Pride Center of Terre Haute Inc.

Pride Center of Vermont

Pride Center San Antonio

Pride Community and Education Center of the Tricities

Pride Community Center

Pride Community Center of North Central Florida

Pride Community Center of the Tricities

Pride Community Center, Inc

Pride Link

Pridelines

PRISM FL, Inc

Queens LGBT Center

QWELL Community Foundation

Rainbow Center

Rainbow Families

Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance

Rainbow Rose Center

Resource Center

Rockland County Pride Center

SAGA Community Center

San Diego LGBT Pride

SCV Pride Center

SF LGBT Center

Shenandoah LGBTQ Center

Side by Side

SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders)

SOJOURN: Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity

South Bay LGBTQ Center

Southwest Center

Spencer Pride commUnity center

St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline

Stand with Trans

Stonewall Alliance of Chico

Stonewall Columbus

Sussex Pride

Terros Health HIV/STI Prevention

The Center on Colfax

The Center: 7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection

The DC Center for the LGBT Community

The Episcopal Parish of All Saints’ Church & St. George’s Chapel

The Fresno Spectrum Center

The Greater Dayton LGBT Center

The Human Rights Alliance

The LGBTQ Center (South Bend, IN)

The LGBTQ Center of the Cape Fear Coast

The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert

The LIAM Foundation

The Montrose Center

The Pride Center at Equality Park

The San Diego LGBT Community Center

The Source LGBT+ Center

The Spahr Center

Time Out Youth

Transcend the Binary

Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico

Transinclusive Group

TransOhio

Triangle Community Center

Uniting Pride of Champaign County

Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance (UGLA)

Utah Pride Center

Washington County Gay Straight Alliance, Inc.

Waves Ahead Puerto Rico

We Are Family

Western Montana LGBTQ+ Community Center

William Way LGBT Community Center

Youth Oasis

Youth OUTright