Fact Sheet: HHS Provides Resources on Ways Communities Can Stay Protected from Mpox in Advance of Summer Months

Content From: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services NewsroomPublished: May 22, 20236 min read



Cross-posted from: HHS Newsroom

Last Summer, the United States faced an unprecedented outbreak of mpox with limited resources. The White House and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched an urgent, whole of government response to address the outbreak, which resulted in the deployment of tests, vaccines, and investigational treatments nationwide through HHS’ Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR).

Working in lock step with the LGBTQI+ community, this response resulted in significant declines in cases and the end of the mpox Public Health Emergency on January 31, 2023. As a resulttoday, the average daily case rate in the United States is 1 or fewer – over a 99% decline in daily case counts since the outbreak's peak in August 2022.

As we head into the Summer, the Biden-Harris Administration is focused on increasing vaccine uptake to mitigate the risks of mpox and keep communities safe.

The United States stands in a strong position to prevent the expansion of this outbreak as we head into Spring and Summer 2023.

For months, the Biden-Harris Administration has been working closely with jurisdictions and partners to monitor trends, increase vaccine uptake, and improve vaccination rates in communities over-represented in the outbreak to keep them safe. 

Since the earliest days of the mpox outbreak, we have not taken our foot off the gas in the fight against mpox and providing resources, education, and outreach to increase equitable access to vaccination, testing, and investigational treatments in communities that could benefit.

The mpox outbreak continues to be a public health priority for HHS and the Administration. For months, both have maintained outreach and education efforts and increased outreach in late winter 2022 and early Spring 2023 to motivate actions to prevent expansion of the current outbreak as festival and event seasons approach. Collectively, the Administration’s efforts aim to expand vaccination for individuals at risk and make testing more convenient for health care providers and patients across the country.

The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to working with urgency to detect more cases, protect those at risk, and respond rapidly to new cases. As we head into the summer months, here’s important information and resources:

What We Know About the Virus:

Mpox is a disease that can cause flu-like symptoms and a rash. Based on currently available data, the vast majority of mpox cases in this outbreak have been associated with close skin-to-skin contact associated with sex between men.

Chicago has recently reported a new cluster of mpox cases after nearly three months with almost no mpox cases reported. Some of the cases are in people who have been vaccinated for mpox, and all are mild. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is aware of these new cases and is working closely with Howard Brown Health, the Chicago Department of Health, and the local community to investigate these new cases and limit the size of this cluster.

How to Keep Yourself Safe:

Make sure that you receive two doses of the mpox vaccine if you are considered to be at-risk for mpox. If you only got one shot, it’s never too late to get the second dose.

If you are at risk for mpox but haven't received your two-dose vaccine yet, temporarily changing some parts of your sex life might reduce the risk of exposure to the virus. Maintain those changes between your first and second shots of the vaccine since it takes two weeks after the second shot to achieve the highest protection. Knowing how mpox is transmitted allows you to make informed decisions about your sex life to further reduce your risk of exposure.

Seek health care and get tested if you have a rash, even if you have been previously vaccinated or had the infection. For more information on where to find testing, vaccines, or treatment, visit CDC’s mpox website.

What We Are Doing to Prevent Outbreaks:

Our recommendation ahead of the summer months is – “Get Healthy and Ready for Summer 2023” – by including mpox vaccination as part of a package of sexual health services that includes HIV and STI testing, treatment, and prevention.

A new mpox outbreak's chances increase when fewer people are fully vaccinated. We encourage gay, men who have sex with men, and bisexual and transgender people who may be at risk for mpox exposure to get vaccinated or get their second dose if not fully vaccinated. It's also important to remember that it is never too late to get the second dose. For information on where to find an mpox vaccine site near you, visit CDC’s mpox vaccine locator.

The mpox outbreak continues to be a public health priority for HHS and the Administration, and we will continue working to increase vaccine uptake to keep the outbreak under control.

Ensuring local health departments have the tools and resources they need to combat mpox and protect communities. The CDC, HHS, and White House are closely working with state, tribal, local, and territorial public health departments, and other community partners to distribute vaccines where they are needed most.

For more information on the Administration’s equity-related outreach to communities nationwide, visit CDC’s mpox resources page.

Sharing data available on current mpox cases. Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, who has been in close, personal contact with someone who has mpox is at risk. Take steps to prevent getting mpox. If you have any symptoms of mpox, talk to a health care provider.

  • For the latest information on current outbreak cases and data, visit CDC’s mpox Page.

Working with members of the LGBTQI+ community to prepare for summer Pride events. The White House and HHS have continued to engage with an extensive list of organizations and advocates. Early Spring 2023 outreach to prepare for festival season, beyond the routine weekly meetings used to inform public health leaders about mpox, has included the following organizations:

  • InterPride
  • CenterLink
  • Center for Black Equity
  • NMAC
  • APHL
  • ANAC
  • CSTE
  • BHOC
  • Grindr
  • AIDS United
  • GLMA
  • GMHC
  • NCSD
  • Health HIV
  • BCHC
  • LGBTQ Primary Care Alliance
  • The Center for Black Health Equity
  • Healthcare for the Homeless
  • HUD, HRSA, CDC, and SAMSHA grantees
  • The National Latinx Conference
  • Members of the House and Ballroom Community
  • The White House Mpox Equity Workshop
  • Multiple LGBTQ focused event organizers
  • HIVMA 

[On May 18, 2023, CDC issued in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) the results of two studies highlighting the effectiveness of the JYNNEOS vaccine in preventing mpox disease. Read more here.]