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The CDC may expand monkeypox vaccine eligibility to men with HIV

monkeypox daskalakis.jpeg
AP
Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, White House monkeypox response deputy coordinator, speaks during a briefing at the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in Washington.

U.S. monkeypox cases among white men have declined significantly in recent weeks, while Black people are making up a growing percentage of infections.

U.S. health officials are considering broadening recommendations for who gets vaccinated against monkeypox. That could possibly include many men with HIV or those recently diagnosed with other sexually transmitted diseases.

Driving the discussion is a study released Thursday that showed that a higher-than-expected share of monkeypox infections are in people with other sexually transmitted infections.

One official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the report represents a “call to action.”

Currently, the CDC recommends the vaccine to people who are a close contact of someone who has monkeypox or who believe they were exposed to the virus.

Meantime, the White House says it’s optimistic about a decline in monkeypox cases and an uptick in vaccinations against the infectious virus.

Tempering the positive news are worsening racial disparities in reported cases. Cases among white men have declined significantly in recent weeks, while Black people are making up a growing percentage of infections.

A White House official is promising to ramp up monkeypox vaccination offerings at LGBTQ Pride festivals around the country.

The deputy coordinator of the White House's national monkeypox response, Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, said Wednesday that more than 460,000 vaccine doses have been given.

But he stopped short of promising to eliminate the virus.

“Our goal is to control this outbreak in the U.S.,” Daskalakis said. “We’re seeing strong progress, really, getting shots into arms. Now that supply is less of an issue, we need to make sure we focus on maintaining demand.”

The U.S. leads the world with infections — as of Wednesday, 21,274 cases had been reported — with men accounting for about 98% of cases and men who said they had recent sexual contact with other men about 93% of cases.

Federal data show Florida has the third most cases of the disease, after California and New York.

Currently, the CDC recommends the vaccine to people who are a close contact of someone who has monkeypox; people who know a sexual partner was diagnosed in the past two weeks; and gay or bisexual men who had multiple sexual partners in the last two weeks in an area with known virus spread.

Click here to read more of this article from the Associated Press.