Monkeypox cases continue to rise in the United States, so the Black AIDS Institute is coming together to fight stigma surrounding the virus.
As Chair of the Black AIDS Institute, Grazell Howard (pictured above) is using her energy to provide access and offer treatment methods for Black Americans.
"The great universe loves us all equally. So what we're doing at the Black AIDS Institute, because we are uniquely and unapologetically Black, we have reimaged who and what we are. Not for just for the Black community, but for everyone... specifically around HIV and monkeypox. In the monkeypox space, we are feverishly attempting to demystify this virus and destigmatize it," Howard said.
The current monkeypox outbreak calls back to the HIV outbreak back in the '80s. With many upset with the government's response to the virus, advocates like Howard are speaking up and challenging the false narrative surrounding MPV.
"Our house is on fire again. Déjà vu. But this déjà v is doubled down. Currently, the most disproportionate group are young men who are having sex with men. However, anyone can get [MPV]. Do not be irresponsible in the messaging, because as soon as [they] said it was gay, my community stopped listening. I'm going to tell you most America stopped listening. The messenger matters and the public health message in America must be reconstructed in a way that reflects the diversity of America."
Despite the current outbreak, Howard is offering to hope to many people who may be afraid of this virus or need help in fighting it.
"Knowledge is the solution. We're all in it together. Anyone can contract it. Now should you catch it, care for yourself. Should you have this, the worst thing you do is touch your eyes. If you're single or you live alone and you have to go out, put bandaids on lesions and [wear] long sleeves. It's not deadly, but it can have deadly consequences in other areas."
As this outbreak continues to evolve, Howard and the leaders at the Black AIDS Institute are offering plenty of resources and guides to help people during this time.
"Everyone come and unite with us, because the Black AIDS Institute knows it's our problem, it's our people, and the solutions... we're open to all of them together."
For resources and more information, visit BlackAIDS.org.