APLA Health and community clinics across California are on the frontlines of the monkeypox (MPX) outbreak. APLA Health has administered nearly 3,000 doses of the MPX vaccine to date, but we have yet to receive ANY additional government funding to support these efforts.
Yesterday, APLA Health and a group of 17 organizations from across the state sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra requesting his immediate assistance in supporting the growing MPX response at community health centers. We need him to ensure that community clinics are adequately reimbursed for vaccine administration and to allocate dedicated funding to support testing, vaccination, and treatment efforts as soon as possible. The White House recently requested $4.5 billion to support the immediate needs of the MPX outbreak, but the request faces an uphill battle in Congress.
APLA Health has been advocating with members of Congress and enlisting their support. Today, Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) and Congresswoman Nanette Barragán (CA-44) released a letter signed by 39 members of the California Congressional Delegation calling on the federal government to ensure reimbursement for community clinics like APLA Health that have administered tens of thousands of MPX vaccines. The letter rightly warns that community clinics could soon be forced to curtail efforts to combat the MPX outbreak without additional funding.
Recent data from the CDC indicates that MPX cases are declining in many parts of the country, but the proportion of cases among Black and Latino LGBTQ+ community members is increasing. Nearly 47% of new MPX cases are among Black people, yet they represent only 12% of the U.S. population. Latino people make up 19% of the U.S. population, but account for 23% of the cases. This is outrageous and unacceptable.
Community clinics like APLA Health did not think twice when asked to take on this work because it is critical to the health and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ patients we serve. Now, the federal government must do its part so that we can continue efforts to vaccinate all communities at risk for MPX, especially Black and Latino gay and bisexual men and transgender individuals who are not currently being reached.
APLA Health restores dignity and trust within underserved communities by providing world-class LGBTQ+ empowering healthcare, support services, and HIV specialty care. Since 1983, APLA Health has remained steadfast in its commitment to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our lifetime. The agency is a multi-site operation includes eight Federally Qualified health Center (FQHC) locations, serving more than 18,000 people annually in Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous. We provide 20 different services including: medical, dental, behavioral health and HIV specialty care; PrEP counseling and management; health education and HIV prevention; and STD screening and treatment. For people living with HIV, we offer housing support; benefits counseling; home healthcare; and the Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries; among several other critically needed services. Additionally, we are leaders in advocating for policy and legislation that positively impact the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities and conduct community-based research on issues affecting the communities we serve. For more information on APLA Health visit https://aplahealth.org.