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Health organisations warn monkeypox could become endemic in UK if action is not taken

Published on 13/07/22 at 10:04am

Leading sexual health organisations have warned that monkeypox could become endemic in the UK if the government does not take further action.

As of July 11th, there were 1,735 cases confirmed in the UK, with 96% found in England, according to UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) figures. It is also estimated that cases of monkeypox are doubling every 15 days.

There have been reductions in other services reported by many sexual health organisations because of the additional strain that monkeypox is causing, according to the British Association of Sexual Health & HIV, Associaton of Directors of Public Health, Terrence Higgins Trust, National Aids Trust, British HIV Association, LGBT Foundation, PrEPster, i-base, and UK Community Advisory Board.

HIV services have been severely disrupted, meaning that the government’s target of ending new HIV cases in the UK by 2030 is at risk. The government want to ensure that the vaccine programme is properly resourced, and they have said that the current rollout is “too slow, with far too few being vaccinated”.

"Monkeypox cases are currently doubling every 15 days and we have now reached a critical point in our ability to control its spread," said Dr Claire Dewsnap, president of British Association of Sexual Health & HIV. "Already-stretched sexual health services are buckling under the additional pressures that the outbreak is placing upon them, and an increasing volume of core sexual health care is being displaced as a result.

"This has left us on the precipice of a fresh public health crisis, one which can only be averted with urgent, additional support."

Cases of monkeypox are prevalent among males in the gay and bisexual community, and experts have expressed concern that, without action, the virus could start spreading to other groups, especially those who are most vulnerable to the infection.

Lina Adams

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