Take Pride Now: NCDHHS Initiates Campaign for Promoting Sexual Health, Encouraging MPOX Vaccination, and Mitigating Disease Transmission – Reported by The Stanly News & Press

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has launched the “Take Pride Now” campaign to promote sexual health. The campaign aims to promote safer sex practices and includes prevention, testing, and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The NCDHHS and its partners encourage people in North Carolina, especially those at high risk of sexually transmitted infections, to limit the spread of disease by taking three key steps.

The first step is participating in safer sex practices, which can reduce the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infections. The second step is taking pride in making sexual health a priority by getting tested regularly for STIs and getting vaccinated against mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) if eligible. Left untreated, STIs can lead to additional health complications. The third step is taking action now, as the campaign comes ahead of Pride Month in June and as mpox cases resurface in other parts of the United States.

When people travel or attend Pride events, it is important that they receive mpox vaccination if eligible and take other steps to stay healthy. The mpox vaccine is available statewide for people who meet eligibility criteria, such as those who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with mpox, gay, bisexual, or other males who have sex with men, and sexually active transgender individuals. The vaccine is safe and effective in reducing the risk of infection and serious illness.

Since the mpox epidemic began in 2022, homosexuals, bisexuals, and other men who have sex with men have continued to make up the majority of those infected. However, this group only accounts for 27% of the vaccines distributed so far in North Carolina. To reduce this disparity, NCDHHS is working with all levels of government and local organizations. Vaccination remains an important tool for reducing the risk of infection and disease severity.

As of April 26, 26,091 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine have been administered statewide. JYNNEOS is a safe and effective mpox vaccine that reduces the risk of infection and reduces disease severity. Two doses of this vaccine should be given at least 28 days apart, and maximum protection is achieved 14 days after the second dose of JYNNEOS. For up-to-date information on North Carolina’s mpox and sexual health education efforts, including testing and mpox vaccine locations, visit ncdhhs.gov/TakePrideNow.

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