JOINT STATEMENT FROM NMAC, PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS ON MEETING WITH WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS ON MONKEYPOX RESPONSE
Aug. 23, 2022 – Today, representatives from NMAC joined leaders from community organizations and individuals from throughout the country to meet with top officials from the White House National Monkeypox Response team. NMAC led the critical conversation to discuss the impact the fast-spreading monkeypox virus (MPV) is having on the LGBTQ+ community and communities of color.
Following today’s meeting with White House officials Robert Fenton, Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, and Harold Phillips, as well as Dr. Nick DeLuca from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coalition of organizations and individuals released the following joint statement:
“As the monkeypox virus (MPV) continues to spread throughout the United States, particularly in many underserved and underrepresented communities, we are appreciative of Robert Fenton and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis for meeting with us today to talk through ways the Biden Administration is addressing this national public emergency. It is crucial that the Monkeypox Response team fully understands the impact the virus is having in our communities to ensure a proactive and equitable response.
At the forefront of our concerns are three primary issues: is the government producing enough MPV vaccines to help mitigate the spread of the virus; does the Administration’s plan address vaccine equity to expedite deployment to communities who are disproportionately impacted by MPV; and what steps is the White House Response team taking to address vaccine hesitancy. We are troubled with the reporting that shows that the vast majority of new MPV cases are among people of color and within the LGBTQ+ community, and many have faced hardships seeking preventative care. We were pleased to hear that the White House understands the need and is listening to the stories like the ones we presented to them today as they continue to address and monitor the ongoing MPV situation.
We have learned many hard lessons from other national epidemics – particularly with HIV and recently with COVID-19 – on how communities of color and the LGBTQ+ community have been shut out of access to life-saving treatment, were left out of the public health response planning and deployment by previous administrations, and were stigmatized in the public with false, hateful messages and propaganda. We reiterated with Mr. Fenton and Dr. Daskalakis to remember that people who have had or are currently dealing with MPV are human beings first, and those communities that are being the most affected by the MPV should take priority in their response efforts.
We look forward to continuing our conversations with White House officials, government experts, and public health professionals to ensure that the constituencies we represent are not forgotten or left behind, and are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”
Joining the meeting on behalf of NMAC were Daniel Driffin and Damián Cabrera; David Garcia, Executive Director of Affirmations LGBTQ+ Community Center in Michigan; Antonius Minniefield, global health advocate from Georgia; and Julio Frausto, health educator at Bienestar Human Services in Los Angeles.
NMAC leads with race to urgently fight for health equity and racial justice to end the HIV epidemic in America. Since 1987, NMAC has advanced our mission through a variety of programs and services, including: a public policy education program, national and regional training conferences, a treatment and research program, numerous electronic and print materials, and a website: www.nmac.org. NMAC also serves as an association of AIDS service organizations, providing valuable information to community-based organizations, hospitals, clinics, and other groups assisting individuals and families affected by the HIV epidemic.