A coalition of LGBT organizations in California is warning the state could become the epicenter of the disease if there isn’t immediate expanded access to testing and vaccines.

The organizations are also requesting the disease be renamed “hMPXV.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of July 26, there are 356 cases of monkeypox in California. Meanwhile there are 3,591 cases across the country with 309 in Florida.

The organizations, which include Equality California, Los Angeles LGBT Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and San Francisco AIDS Foundation, sent a letter to the Director of CDC, Rochelle Walensky, with a warning and list of demands.

“California is poised to become the epicenter of confirmed cases [...],” the letter states. “While we are encouraged to see the Biden-Harris Administration take stronger action to contain the hMPXV outbreak and protect those who are most at risk, the following are needed to mitigate the disproportionate impact that this poxvirus has on MSM and transgender communities,” including expanded testing, expanded vaccine access and a name change.

MSM stands for men who have sex with men.

“The current global strain has no clear link to West Africa where the virus typically originates, and it acts differently than the West Africa strain. Additionally, the current nomenclature and association to West Africa are stigmatizing and could lead to discrimination,” the letter reads. “As decades-long leaders in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the undersigned organizations strive to create an environment where diseases do not discriminate against populations and are concerned the current name undermines decades of efforts to minimize stigma in MSM communities.”

The World Health Organization is considering a name change.

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