Sims: Our response to monkeypox must be swift and lead with science

PHILADELPHIA, July 29 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta was joined by Rep. Brian Sims, both D-Phila., and LGBTQ leaders and medical professionals for a news conference today at the Mazzoni Center to discuss community needs and concerns related to the monkeypox outbreak.

Present at this news conference, along with the reps were: Michael Hinson, longtime activist and CEO of SELF; Dusty Latimer, Mazzoni Center physician assistant; and Nackea Bachman, certified physician assistant, provider at Bebashi. 

All who attended spoke on the effect monkeypox is having on the LGBTQ Community.

Kenyatta said, “As this virus is just beginning to hit the commonwealth, we are already seeing the effect it’s having across the commonwealth. 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.”

Sims said, "We've seen too many times what can happen when swift actions are not taken in the wake of a global health crisis. 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."

Kenyatta announced that on Tuesday, Aug. 2, he will host a monkeypox community town hall in partnership with the Mazzoni Center.