State Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Brian Sims joined LGBTQ leaders and medical professionals for a news conference at South Philly’s Mazzoni Center on July 29 to discuss community needs and concerns related to the monkeypox outbreak.
“As this virus is just beginning to hit the commonwealth, we are already seeing the effect it’s having across the commonwealth,” Kenyatta said. “Fear. Anxiety. Panic. We must be proactive in addressing this virus. There is no such thing as a ‘gay disease’ and treating this as such only increases stigma and reduces the likelihood that all communities will be vigilant. We need more vaccine and easier access to testing now.”
The two lawmakers urged quick action.
“We’ve seen too many times what can happen when swift actions are not taken in the wake of a global health crisis,” Sims said. “The World Health Organization has declared monkeypox a public health emergency, and Philadelphia is by no means immune and accounts for half of the cases in the commonwealth. This virus is attacking those who are most vulnerable in our community, but let me be clear, monkeypox can affect anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. We have the knowledge to act quickly and strategically to stop the spread and keep Pennsylvanians safe. If you are experiencing any symptoms such as fever, aches, chills, exhaustion or swollen lymph nodes, please seek professional medical help immediately and follow the CDC guidelines. Together, we can make it through — just be informed.”