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Members of LGBTQ community disproportionally affected by monkeypox

Members of LGBTQ community disproportionally affected by monkeypox
Members of LGBTQ community disproportionally affected by monkeypox 03:12

As monkeypox cases go up in Los Angeles County, there's an urgent call to action today from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. 

"We've been informed that the cases reported in LA County are among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men," said AHF director of advocacy and policy research Adam Sukija-Cohen. 

The AHF wants public health officials to step up efforts to reach out to members of the LGBTQ community since they are disproportionally affected by monkeypox. 

"I understand the concern about not stigmatizing gay men," said AHF president Michael Weinstein. "But if our concern about not stigmatizing them trumps actually informing them, that's a major problem."

On Thursday morning, LA County public health officials reported 47 probable and confirmed cases. 

"The county won't state that the recent Pride events were that contributed to the spread of monkeypox, I think is a misplaced concern," said Weinstein. 

The AHF said their clients are considered at high risk for monkeypox according to LA County and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards. However, the foundation has not received any vaccines to administer simply because the county only has a few thousand doses which are not enough to innoculate high-risk patients and barely enough to administer to patients who have been exposed to monkeypox.

"In the meantime, if they are not going to give us the vaccine, they need to give us the education," said Sukija-Cohen. 

Weinstein also called for more resources to research the disease to understand why it is affecting members of the LGBTQ community more than others. 

Symptoms of monkeypox include a fever and body aches followed by sores about 3-5 days later. 

Infectious disease expert Dr. Suman Radhakrishna said that while the medical community started seeing more cases in members of the gay community, any person can get infected with monkeypox. 

"The bottom line that the public has to understand is it is skin-to-skin contact," said Radhakrishna. "People who have sores, who have active disease, are the ones who are going to give it to somebody else."

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