WASHINGTON STATE MUST DECLARE A MONKEYPOX STATE OF EMERGENCY

PCAF led coalition of state organizations demand a BIPOC/LGBTQ-centered Monkeypox Task Force

Download Press Release: PDF / Word | Download Letter to Governor: PDF

PCAF 3009 South 40th Street, Tacoma, WA 98409
Media Contact: Jill Rose Development and Communications Director
(253) 722-0709 / jrose@pcaf-wa.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Monday, Aug. 8, 2022

TACOMA, WASHINGTON — On Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022, PCAF, the South Sound’s leading HIV organization, led a coalition of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and LGBTQ+ organizations, to call on Governor Inslee to proclaim a State of Emergency in response to the Monkeypox Virus Epidemic. The undersigned organizations asked Gov. Jay Inslee to create a task force that represents the communities most impacted by the monkeypox virus (MPV)—LGBTQ+ and BIPOC residents.

The organizations calling for such a task force include PCAF, AHAT Homecare, Rainbow Center, Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ+ Center, the Lavender Rights Project, Federal Way Pride, Oasis Youth Center, POCAAN, Pride at Work, Yakima Pride, and Vocal-WA. In addition, Dr. Joanna Stekler, MD, MPH, individually joined the call. (see press release for most up to date information)

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 37% of the people currently diagnosed with MPV are Latinx and 29% are Black. Just 33% are white. The epidemic is also primarily centered among gay, bisexual, and same-gender-loving men as well as transgender and gender nonconforming people who collectively account for over 95% of the MPV diagnoses. 

“Much has been written about what we can learn from the inequitable impact of COVID-19 and HIV on historically unserved communities,” said Ace Robinson (he/él), chief executive officer of PCAF (formerly Pierce County AIDS Foundation). “Washington has the opportunity to lead the nation by sourcing solutions for the MPV epidemic from experts within our communities from the start, and we call on Gov. Inslee and the Governor’s Interagency Coordinating Council on Health Disparities to act now.”

A declaration of a state of emergency would trigger the release of MPV vaccine stockpiles for healthcare workers, residents, and visitors to the state, as well as release adequate supplies of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and expand resources available to state and local health departments and their grantees to mitigate Monkeypox on the ground. On August 4, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra declared monkeypox a national Public Health Emergency.

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About PCAF

Through education and service, PCAF prevents HIV infection, assists persons affected by HIV/AIDS, addresses related health problems, and combats associated stigma and discrimination. With offices in Tacoma and Olympia, PCAF serves Pierce, Thurston, Lewis, and Mason counties. PCAF is dedicated to assisting persons living with HIV to meet their non-medical needs for food, housing, healthcare, and personal support that can prevent people living with HIV from thriving. PCAF also provides extensive outreach, education, and prevention programs including free HIV testing to help stop the spread of HIV and work to combat HIV-related stigma. More information is available at www.pcaf-wa.org

For more information about monkeypox and vaccinations clinics at PCAF go to: pcaf-wa.org/monkeypox

Download Press Release: PDF / Word | Download Letter to Governor: PDF