Today, GLAAD joined with Gilead Sciences, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) to announce immediate action in response to the monkeypox virus (MPV) outbreak in the United States. Monkeypox has been disproportionately affecting LGBTQ people, particularly gay and bi men, as well as people living with HIV. Gilead has pledged up to $5 million in global grant funding to support a public education and vaccine hesitancy communications campaign, a public policy response, and a global outbreak emergency fund.
The Global Monkeypox Outbreak Emergency Fund will provide grants of up to $50,000 to existing Gilead grantee organizations working in regions with active MPV outbreaks to respond to this growing emergency. Funds may be used to cover expenses such as community mobilization activities specifically addressing MPV outbreak in communities disproportionately impacted by HIV, operating costs related to HIV testing and service interruptions and essential safety materials
GLAAD, alongside HRC, NBJC, and NCLR will be ensuring critical information about MPV reaches impacted communities through a comprehensive communications campaign including videos, graphics, and other information resources. GLAAD will also continue its work to ensure that LGBTQ people are not stigmatized in coverage surrounding the virus. On these efforts, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis stated:
“As we saw with HIV, COVID-19, and now MPV, disinformation continues to challenge the LGBTQ+ community. This new collaboration will enable creating and distributing content and resources to help our community know the facts and to understand prevention and treatment for MPV. When communities receive accurate, timely information, they are empowered to take appropriate action, leading to long-lasting, positive health outcomes.”
Leaders of other organizations behind this robust partnership have also responded, stating:
“Throughout our history, Gilead has worked to address critical public health challenges and healthcare disparities, particularly those faced by the LGBTQ+ community or impacted by the HIV epidemic. Today we are proud to work with our longtime collaborators around the world to help meet the immediate needs of impacted communities and to help identify longer term solutions to this emerging crisis. At Gilead, we are also accelerating and expanding our early-stage antiviral drug screening program to identify new molecules for potential future treatment of MPV infection.” — Deborah Telman, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and General Counsel, Gilead Sciences.
“As MPV continues to impact our communities, we’re witnessing a concerning amount of misinformation and confusion. That misinformation is especially harmful to BIPOC communities who historically are sidelined when it comes to equitable access to care and treatment. Over the past several weeks, we’ve also seen the LGBTQ+ community doing what we’ve always had to do: caring and advocating for each other. In the same vein, we look forward to working together with Gilead and other partner organizations to combat the stigma that prevents people from seeking the care they need.” — Joni Madison, Interim President, HRC
“The National Black Justice Coalition is excited to be a part of this coordinated effort to prevent the spread of MPV across the U.S., especially among the Black LGBTQ+/SGL community and people living with HIV/AIDS. We have engaged with key decision-makers since the outbreak emerged to ensure our community is included, in non-stigmatizing ways, in public health campaigns, is educated about the dangers of this virus, and is connected to care. Responses must be democratized so information, testing, and treatment resources reach people who have the greatest need and the fewest resources.” — David J. Johns, Ph.D., Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition.
“There has been a lack of accurate information about MPV and that has, and will continue to negatively and disproportionately hurt the health and well-being of the LGBTQ+ community, communities of color and people at the intersections of these underrepresented identities. We are seeing the number of MPV cases across the country increase and our community expects and deserves access to education and resources to help combat the virus, and feel safe in their communities.” — Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director, NCLR.
“NMAC is grateful to Gilead for their leadership on this critical issue. Through our extensive contacts at the federal level and with the support of our community partners, we will work with both the White House and Congress to provide the necessary resources to deal with this outbreak. Our top priorities will include making sure that vaccine access is equitable for all communities at risk and that any outreach plans will include ways to deal with vaccine hesitancy in a culturally competent way.” — Paul Kawata, Executive Director, NMAC
GLAAD spoke with Reuters today about how this support will fund new work to educate the LGBTQ community and broader public about MPV, noting: “The funds will help the groups produce videos, graphics and other information resources for distribution to the media and at community centers, bars, nightclubs, parties and events.”
For more information about monkeypox visit GLAAD’s Factsheet for Reporters on Monkeypox (MPV) and the LGBTQ community here.