[Image description: A rectangular graphic with a white background. Rainbow gradient text boxes to the left read "Keeping our community informed: Our ongoing response to MPOX". To the right are two oversized icons of virus particles in yellow, orange, and red colors. The lower right section of the graphic features a purple wave, bordered by a curved line with gradient intersectional Pride colors. The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center logo is in the lower right corner of the graphic.]
With MPOX (also known as MPV) now declared as a public health emergency by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center is committed to providing the most updated and accurate information. We want to be clear and transparent about what we know – and what we don’t know.
MPOX can affect anyone, not just LGBTQ+ folks. This isn’t a "gay disease," and we condemn reports and characterizations that try to frame MPOX in that way. The truth is that everyone should be cautious and care for their own health and for others.
Do you have specific questions about MPOX? We're fortunate to have epidemiology experts on our team. Community members can email our health equity programs manager Chrystina Obleschuk (she/her) at [email protected].
Update on a Vaccine Clinic at Allentown Health Bureau
To be eligible for the vaccine at this time, an individual must fit the following criteria:
- Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, and/or transgender, gender non-conforming, or gender non-binary persons who are age 18 or older who have had multiple (2+) or anonymous sex partners in the past 14 days
AND meet one of the following criteria:
- Have knowledge or suspicion that they may have been exposed to MPOX or another STI in the past 14 days
- Have had any newly diagnosed STI in the past 3 months, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, early syphilis, or HIV
- Have attended an event, met sex partner(s) through online apps or social media platforms, or exchanged money or other goods/services for sex
- Have a condition that may increase their risk for severe disease if infected with MPOX virus, such as HIV or another condition that weakens their immune system, or they have a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema
- Be on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
- Sex workers of any sexual orientation or gender identity
Appointments can be scheduled by calling the Allentown Health Bureau at 610-437-7760 ext. 0. Once all appointment slots are filled up, names will be added to a waiting list for future availability.
Vaccine Waitlist Information
We are partnering with Allentown Health Bureau to connect eligible community members to available doses of the MPOX vaccine. At this time, there are still restrictions on who can get the vaccine because of the limited supply. However, our team will let community members know when vaccine access has further expanded.
Here are the current requirements for eligibility through Allentown Health Bureau:
- at least 18 years old
- gay, bisexual, and other men (including non-binary, transgender, and gender nonconforming) who have sex with men
- sexual contact with more than one partner in the last two (2) weeks OR anonymous sex in the last two (2) weeks
Check out this secure web form to learn more about eligibility and to sign up to be notified on days when the Allentown Health Bureau has available doses.
If or when the vaccine is rolled out on a larger scale, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center is ready to serve as a community-based clinic. We know how important it is for LGBTQ+ community members to safely access healthcare, and our response to MPOX is no different.
Our Pride Guide to Public Health helps educate community members about the spread, signs and symptoms, and steps to take if exposed to MPOX (as well as syphilis and COVID-19).
Other information from the Pennsylvania Department of Health:
While MPOX is a serious illness, the type of MPOX seen in this outbreak is rarely fatal. Per CDC guidance, more than 99% of people who get this form of the disease are likely to survive. There are multiple FDA approved medications to treat the disease including tecovirimat (TPOXX), Vaccinia Immune Globulin Intravenous (VIGIV), and Brincidofovir (Tembexa). Pennsylvania and the CDC are working with stakeholders to ensure access to both vaccinations and treatments.
Because of limited vaccine supply, the state is prioritizing access for those in highest need, developing a four-tiered system:
- Priority group 1: any individual who has a known exposure to a confirmed case of MPOX.
- Priority group 2: individuals in the epidemiologically defined risk group who have engaged in risky behavior in an area/cohort where MPOX is known to have been present, even without a known contact
- Priority group 3: individuals in the epidemiologically defined risk group who have engaged in other risky behaviors in the last 14 days or have an immunocompromising condition
- Priority group 4: preexposure prophylaxis of healthcare workers or other at-risk individuals
The state is recommending that providers administer vaccine to priority groups 1 and 2, with flexibility to move into group 3 if demand is low and vaccine supply permits. The current epidemiology of this MPOX outbreak indicates that gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, and/or transgender, gender non-conforming, or gender non-binary persons with multiple (2+) or anonymous sex partner(s) in the past 14 days are at greatest risk of becoming infected with MPOX. Vaccine prioritization will focus on this epidemiologically defined risk group.
This plan is in keeping with the CDC’s National Strategy, which includes two phases. The first phase consists of using available vaccine stock for people who have had close contact with people known to have MPOX. The second phase will be when more vaccine is available and will allow for broader vaccination of persons who may be at risk for future MPOX exposure.
Individuals who believe they may have contracted MPOX or have been in contact with someone who has MPOX should immediately contact their health care provider, or any of the providers on this list STD PROVIDERS (pa.gov), to help determine if they need to be tested for MPOX or need the vaccine. If individuals have any questions, they can also contact the department at 1-877-PAHEALTH.