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The charity is stopping working with the government over the ‘lackluster’ response to monkeypox

An HIV and sexual health charity has withdrawn from working with the government’s health agency over its “lackluster” response to monkeypox.

Terrence Higgins Trust said it spent several months getting the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to embark on a strong communications strategy and take action.

Dominic Edwardes, the trust’s communications director, said he wanted a “multi-channel campaign” from the UKHSA targeting gay and bisexual men making the “overwhelming number of cases” before the disease “becomes endemic in the UK”. .

He added: “It is crucial that we reach out to those at high risk who have yet to be vaccinated, those who need access to a second dose and those who are currently managing risk through changing their sexual behaviour.

“We have consistently raised this in UKHSA communications meetings for months but still no adequate action has been taken.

“We strongly believe that a highly targeted public health campaign is needed to prevent monkeypox from becoming endemic and that the money must be found to implement it.”

Second doses of the vaccine will be offered to those at higher risk two or three months after the first dose, the UKHSA said earlier this month.

There are no plans to expand vaccination offerings, but the decision is under review.

Those who are eligible for vaccination are being called by the NHS.

As of September 20, more than 45,000 people have received a dose of the vaccine, including more than 40,000 gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

The disease has traditionally been restricted to parts of Africa, but cases began appearing in the UK in early May.

According to data as of September 16, there were 3,439 confirmed and 146 most probable cases of monkeypox in the UK.

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