Fall AIDSWatch 2022: Exploring the intersections of HIV and monkeypox response

This year, the monkeypox outbreak has burdened our HIV community disproportionately as we live through not two but three pandemics threatening the well-being of millions. Over the next few months, we are also preparing for a critical season of midterm elections — amid a desperate need for health care reform proposals. Those of us living with HIV cannot wait any longer for a monkeypox response that is inclusive to the needs of the HIV community. 

On Sept. 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report that found that, of the almost 2,000 people diagnosed with monkeypox between May and June, 38% were living with HIV and had a 5% higher risk of hospitalization compared to those without HIV. Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of both HIV and monkeypox is expected to reduce the risk of severe infection. Among those with monkeypox, the weekly percentage of people living with HIV infection has increased over time — from 31%to  44% by July. 

In partnership with the US People Living with HIV Caucus and the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, AIDS United will be hosting a crucial Fall 2022 special edition of AIDSWatch to talk about the intersection of HIV and monkeypox. It is crucial to ensure the HIV community is informed and can have our voices heard so we can effectively advocate for increased federal support to address the monkeypox epidemic, which continues to impact our work to end the HIV epidemic. 

On Sept. 15 from 4 – 5:30 p.m. EDT, a virtual AIDSWatch event will be held to bring participants together with national leaders to ensure that our communities’ health care concerns are heard as we talk about the intersections of the HIV community, people impacted by the current monkeypox epidemic, and what the HIV community needs from a monkeypox response. 

Our speakers will be: 

  • Demetre Daskalakis, M.D., MPH
  • Harold Phillips
  • Rachel Deitch
  • Juan Michael Porter II
  • Vandana Shrikanth, M.D.
  • David Folkes, M.D.
  • Jesse Milan Jr. (co-moderator)
  • Chauncey McGlathery (co-moderator)

The need for Congress to support a comprehensive public health response to monkeypox has only grown larger as the epidemic epidemic continues to evolve. Demands for monkeypox testing, treatment and vaccination among HIV service organizations and community health centers continue to increase to meet the needs of community across the U.S. 

In addition to joining us for our special AIDSWatch discussion, we need you to raise your voice with us. Head to AIDS United’s Policy Action Centerand email your members of Congress today to tell them that we can’t wait any longer to fund the monkeypox response.