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Policy Statement, Press Release
Leading Public Health Organizations & LGBTQ+ Advocates Release Letter to Congress Urgently Calling for Monkeypox Outbreak Response Funds
More Than 30 Leading Organizations to Send Letter to Congressional Leadership Urging Immediate Action Against Monkeypox
July 19, 2022
Leading Public Health, Medical, and LGBTQ+ Organizations Call on Congress to Urgently Address Monkeypox Outbreak
More Than 30 National Organizations to Send Letter to Congressional Leadership Urging Immediate Action Against Monkeypox
For Immediate Release: July 19, 2022 Contact: Elizabeth Finley, firstname.lastname@example.org, 919-749-7309
Washington, DC – On July 19, a coalition of more than 30 organizations representing the nation’s leading healthcare providers, researchers, and infectious disease experts as well as LGBTQ+ advocates to send a letter to Congressional Leadership calling for a robust federal response to this emerging threat to public health. Over the past two weeks, the number of monkeypox cases has more than doubled and persistent obstacles to testing suggest that the true number of cases are vastly underreported. Vaccine efforts have similarly been hampered in states across the country due to limited supplies.
“The U.S. response to monkeypox is a prime example of how an underfunded public health system buckles under pressure during a rapid outbreak. We’ve had countless opportunities to prepare for this moment – mostly recently with COVID – and have instead chosen to dither and delay. That is now costing us. We know what we need to do to contain monkeypox – but it will require meaningful investment from the federal government to give public health departments across the country the resources they desperately need. That’s why we’re calling on congressional leaders to allocate a minimum of $100 million in funding to mount a response to monkeypox and prepare for future outbreaks. We can’t afford to wait any longer to act,” said David C. Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors.
Despite initial steps taken by the federal government to respond to the outbreak, a chronically underfunded public health system – already stretched to the brink in recent years, particularly during COVID-19 – has struggled to cope. Sustained and increased investments as well as significant collaboration among stakeholders is needed to mount a robust and equitable response and halt the spread of the disease.
“Just like many members of our community, we’re concerned about the spread of MPV, also known as monkeypox. Over recent weeks, we’ve seen the LGBTQ+ community doing what we’re best at: caring for each other, raising awareness and acting on sound public health guidance,” said Joni Madison, Interim President of the Human Rights Campaign. “Public health and other government officials must act quickly to provide much-needed resources – resources to expand testing, increase vaccinations, and combat misinformation and stigma before it takes hold, with an eye towards prioritizing communities that face historical and systemic discrimination. Weeks ago would have been the best time to act. The next best time is right now.”
The full text of the letter can be found below and here.
Dear Chairs Leahy and DeLauro, Vice Chair Shelby, and Ranking Member Granger,
As nonpartisan national, state, and local public health organizations, we are writing to urge Congress to include a minimum of $100 million in the FY’23 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill to ensure our country has sufficient resources to mount a robust response to the escalating Monkeypox outbreak.
As public health leaders who represent health care providers, researchers, and infectious disease experts working on the frontlines to protect Americans from this emerging threat, we are concerned with how quickly this outbreak has been allowed to spread in the U.S. In the span of four days last week, the number of cases in the U.S. more than doubled from 866 identified cases to 1,814, and persistent obstacles to testing suggest that the actual case count is underreported.
Additional funding is needed for clinical services such as testing, treatment, and vaccine distribution to respond effectively. In addition, we need investments in partner services, education, community outreach, and research to ensure an effective monkeypox response and limit the spread of the virus in our communities.
The virus mimics symptoms of common sexually transmitted disease (STDs) and low awareness about the virus and how it spreads has impeded control efforts. States and communities have already tapped the STD and public health fields’ expertise in disease detection, contact tracing, symptom monitoring, and community education, as well as connections to impacted communities. While the Administration has taken important steps in the initial response, we cannot halt an expanding outbreak at current funding levels.
We are entering this outbreak with critical lessons learned from the HIV and STD epidemics, and the COVID-19 pandemic, and we cannot afford missteps. We need real-time data collection efforts, a public health system that can respond swiftly and accurately to infectious disease outbreaks, and effective interventions. This requires funding and leadership; and the undersigned organizations stand ready to support your efforts.
In addition, due to the chronic underfunding of public health programs, and the strain that the lack of funds has put on our public health system, the immediate need presented by the monkeypox outbreak does not alter the need for sustained and increased investments within HHS to expand capacity to address other existing and future public health threats. We ask you to act immediately to secure the additional funds to address the monkeypox outbreak and stop the spread of this infectious disease.
For questions or further information, please contact the National Coalition of STD Directors’ director of federal policy, Rachel Deitch at email@example.com.
AIDS Action Baltimore
AIDS Foundation Chicago
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Sexual Health Association
Association of Public Health Laboratories
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
Association of State and Territorial Public Health Social Workers
Community Education Group
Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists
Fast-Track Cities Institute
Georgia AIDS Coalition
HIV Medicine Association
Human Rights Campaign
Infectious Diseases Society of America
International Association of Providers of AIDS Care
National Association of Community Health Centers
National Association of County and City Health Officials
National Coalition for LGBTQ Health
National Coalition of STD Directors
National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association