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LGBT+ groups urge ministers to ramp up efforts to combat monkeypox

A COALITION of LGBT+ groups have written to ministers urging them to ramp up efforts to combat monkeypox or risk the disease becoming “endemic” in Britain.

Charities are also calling for “urgent political action” to get a grip on the country’s “rapidly rising” number of cases, of which there have been 2,600 so far. 

The majority of cases affect gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men. 

On Thursday, the US declared a public health emergency over the virus, which followed the World Health Organisation (WHO) calling it a global emergency. 

Health authorities in Britain have called for calm however LGBT+ groups in Westminster today urged Health Secretary Steve Barclay to take action. 

“We are united as LGBT+ groups from across political parties in asking that the government treat the monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency,” a letter to Mr Barclay signed by the LGBT+ groups for the Tories, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens and SNP said.

“We cannot afford to allow monkeypox to become endemic in the UK.”

The government must prioritise communication and vaccination, the letter, which was also signed by sexual health charities including the Terrence Higgins Trust, reads. 

“Messaging must reach communities at high risk of acquiring monkeypox, through targeted messaging on apps, online and in the queer media.” 

The Terrence Higgins Trust head of policy Ceri Smith said: “We need urgent political action to get a grip on Britain’s rapidly rising number of monkeypox cases.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said that the department has procured over 150,000 vaccines, saying that it is working with partners to “share targeted, non-stigmatising communications with the LGBTQ+ community.”

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