AVP adopts MPV name to describe emerging virus

Dear AVP Community,

As you know, AVP works diligently to support our survivors first and advocates whenever we can for changes that help to remove stigma and barriers affecting their safety and well-being. 

A virus that has become the center of public discourse once again has a name that by its erroneous nature promotes incorrect, racist and harmful narratives about our communities. It is referred to as m——————-pox (redacted) and is spreading through close contact across the U.S., particularly in metropolitan areas like New York City. The virus has multiple methods of transmission but has been identified by global health officials as having a high transmission rate within communities of men who have sex with men, transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming people. 

The World Health Organization has recently reaffirmed its commitment to changing the common name of the virus. But, as we recently saw with COVID-19 and continue to see with HIV/AIDS, the damage to communities who bear the brunt of this stigma and violence, particularly our communities of color, do so long after the change is made. In fact, that virus stigmatization within our society directly correlates to increased violence, as we have seen historically with the HIV/AIDS epidemic and violence toward LGBTQ people, and more recently with COVID-19 and the rise in anti-AAPI violence. 

For that reason, within AVP and externally, we will use the name MPV, consistently with other organizations that have recognized the harm in language rooted in stigma and racism. This change will go into effect immediately and will remain in effect until the World Health Organization or other governing health organization defines a new standardized, common name. 

It’s important to note that this change came about because of feedback rooted in the lived experiences of not only members of our team but the community we serve. It’s vital that we continue this pipeline of feedback and transparency to help motivate continuous positive change within and outside of AVP. 

In Community,
The New York City Anti-Violence Project