LGBTQ community takes precautions as monkeypox cases rise

There are more than 2,300 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States and 15,000 cases worldwide.

Englewood, Colorado. The rise in monkeypox cases across Colorado has led some people in the LGBTQ+ community to take extra precautions.

Colorado has recorded 28 new cases of monkeypox so far in July, according to the state health department. This is an average of more than one case per day.

RELATED: Monkeypox cases increase to 37 in Colorado

The increase in cases has led to the leadership of Mile High Behavioral Healthcare, a healthcare provider that primarily serves vulnerable groups including the LGBTQ+ community, and is taking precautionary measures to help people stay healthy.

Zane Guilfoyle, the organization’s director of public health and community engagement, said. “So we’re always looking at our policies and procedures to reflect this to make sure we keep customer safety our top priority.”

Mile High Behavioral Healthcare operates a transgender center in the Rockies. The organization has a program called Marsha’s Closet, a place where transgender individuals can access free clothing.

“It’s basically like a free thrift store for people to come and pick up free gender-affirming clothes because we know a lot of people in transgender communities may not feel comfortable shopping for clothes in public,” Gilfoyle explained.

Last week, the organization announced that Marsha Closet will temporarily stop accepting clothing donations, due to an increase in monkeypox cases in Colorado.

“We just want to make sure the clothes we give to the community are safe,” Gilfoyle said.

It recorded 28 cases in July, up from just six in June, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health (CDPHE).

“We worked hard to get [monkeypox] vaccines for as many Coloradans as we are eligible,” said Dr. Alexis Burakoff, CDPHE epidemiologist.

Related: Countries getting more monkeypox vaccines soon, US health officials say

Burakov said the state has administered nearly 1,300 doses of the monkeypox vaccine through clinics. Currently, only a limited group of people considered to be at high risk are eligible to receive the vaccine:

  • People who have been in contact with a known case of monkeypox
  • Men 18 years of age or older who have sex with other men

“We will continue to push out as many doses as possible and expand the sites to try and make them available as much as possible,” Burakov added.

CDPHE encourages anyone at high risk looking to obtain a vaccine to constantly check their website. Anytime the offer opens, the registration form for a vaccine will be available online.

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