Monkeypox may hit Serbia, as Belgrade hosts EuroPride in September

Monkeypox may hit Serbia, as Belgrade hosts EuroPride in September

In Serbia, authorities have registered over 20 homosexual with monkeypox infection. Many advocacy groups have asked the government to take steps to curb the epidemic as soon as possible. They are demanding free-of-charge vaccines for at-risk groups, as well as general awareness campaigns to be run in the media.

WORLD AUGUST 18. 2022 06:30

Epidemiological bomb

The pan-European LGBTQ parade scheduled for 12 to 18 September is a potential epidemiological bomb, Zoran Radovanovic pointed out. The epidemiologist opined that the health minister should urgently reconsider the situation and recognise the dangers of holding such an event. Many will arrive in Belgrade from all over Europe, not only to take part in the procession but also to meet other people and form new relationships.

The danger posed by the parade could be reduced with the involvement of those affected, the expert said. „Homosexuals should also take a larger responsibility in curbing the epidemic,” he explained. The group most at risk is that of homosexual men, Radovanovic said, adding that they should avoid all intimate relationships with strangers, and give up on one-night stands. Monkeypox is also present among bisexuals, and it is only a matter of time before it starts infecting women, the expert warned.

Virologiest Milanko Sekler has also voiced his concerns. He said the Serbian office of the WHO should publish information about the risks of holding a large-scale LGBTQ event in the Serbian capital. The virus can also be spread by sharing towels or bed linen in hotels, which also puts hotel workers at risk, as they have to collect and wash the laundry, the expert said, adding that hotel laundries are becoming a source of danger. Mr Sekler stressed that he does not want Belgrade to be remembered as the city where monkeypox took over.

Gays asking for state assistance

The Lesbian and Gay Solidarity Network issued a statement a few days ago, calling for urgent state intervention to prevent the spread of monkeypox. According to the network, more than twenty gay men in Serbia are currently suffering from the disease, which, according to the network, „is an urging data and paints a negative picture of a serious epidemic situation.” The state is currently doing nothing to combat monkeypox and is not providing vaccines to those who wish to protect themselves against the disease, they added.

EuroPride is a pan-European LGBTQ event, hosted by a different city each year. Belgrade won the right to host this year’s event ahead of Western European capitals such as Barcelona, Lisbon and Dublin. Some 20 thousand foreigners are expected to visit the Serbian capital for the event, along with some 150 high-ranking officials of the European Union.

At the same time, a board member of Serbia’s ruling Progressive Party, led by Aleksandar Vucic, has called on the organisers to cancel the event, or the state to ban it. Vladimir Dukanovic said that EuroPride is a peripheral event, especially when we consider the type of problems Serbia is facing in Kosovo.



belgrade, europride, serbia