How Can We Advance Equity in Mpox Diagnostics?

amfAR and the NYC Pandemic Response Institute asked stakeholders to respond

Convened by amfAR and the NYC Pandemic Response Institute on July 18, 2023, the National Conference to Advance Equity in Mpox Diagnostics brought together more than 60 stakeholders from numerous sectors of society to recommend how best to make mpox diagnostics more equitable and effective. amfAR also provided funding to ensure that stakeholders from across the nation could participate in the vital discussion.

In April 2022, a new variant of the mpox virus was identified in the United Kingdom. Soon the global outbreak impacted the U.S., where many health organizations, both private and governmental, were unprepared to address the public health emergency in a timely manner, as outlined in an issue brief co-authored by amfAR.

The brief identified areas in need of improvement such as: testing and surveillance; vaccine access; community engagement with affected populations such as men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender people, and people living with HIV; and mobilization of emergency resources.

“In recent years, people living with or at risk for HIV have also been at greater risk for hepatitis C, meningococcal disease, and mpox,” said Greg Millett, MPH, amfAR vice president and director of public policy. “The work of disease intervention specialists in HIV and STD has taught us that pandemic preparedness is of vital importance; mpox and other recent epidemics have shown us that it’s better to be prepared ahead of time because these epidemics intersect and impact the same communities vulnerable to HIV.”

At the conference, experts from business, academia, government, and civil society (and in particular people impacted by mpox) contributed their insights with the goal of informing policy action and healthcare delivery efforts to prepare for future public health emergencies.

Five priority actions were recommended, including multiplex testing for mpox using multiple assays and testing sites, conducting a multisector after-action assessment of the mpox response, and placing community at the center of all phases of diagnostics, among others.

Read the summary below. A full report will be published at a later date.

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