‘Stressed out’ STD clinics struggle to handle surge in monkeypox patients as U.S. outbreak grows

Dr. Ward Carpenter, co-director of health services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, said the monkeypox outbreak across the U.S. is worse than imagined.

“We’re just as busy, just as stressed out and living in just as much chaos as at the beginning of Covid,” he said.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center has had to shift so much of its staff to respond to the outbreak that it no longer has the capacity for urgent and walk-in care for its patients, Carpenter said. The center is providing monkeypox vaccinations, testing and treatment on top of its normal services, which include primary care, HIV care, sexual health, women’s health and mental health.

“We’ve got people who have nothing to do with this sort of work who have stopped doing their normal jobs and have started working on this response,” Carpenter said.

U.S. health officials designated monkeypox as a national health emergency on Thursday as cases surge and clinics struggle. STD clinics in major cities across the country are serving as the first line of defense in trying to contain the virus in the U.S., offering care and guidance to gay and bisexual men who currently face the greatest threat from the disease.

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