Spanish LGBTQ groups wary of monkeypox stigma as Pride nears

In this photo provided by the Unidad de Microscopía Electrónica del ISCIII in Madrid, on Thursday May 26, 2022, an electronic microscope image shows the monkeypox virus seen by a team from the Arbovirus Laboratory and the Genomics and Bioinformatics Units of the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII) in Madrid. Health authorities in Europe, North America, Israel and Australia have identified more than 100 cases of monkeypox in recent days. (Unidad de Microscopía Electrónica del ISCIII, via AP)

With one of Europe’s largest gay pride celebrations right around the corner, Spain’s LGBTQ community is worried that the outbreaks of monkeypox on the continent could lead to an increase in homophobic sentiment based on misunderstandings of the disease.

Spanish health authorities said Friday there were now 98 confirmed cases in the country, the highest number in Europe. The tally includes one woman, the region of Madrid said Friday. The World Health Organization has reported nearly 200 cases of monkeypox in more than 20 countries not usually known to have outbreaks of the unusual disease.

Health authorities have centered their investigations on links between a Gay Pride event in the Canary Islands that drew 80,000 people earlier this month, and cases linked to a Madrid sauna.

But some people, particularly gay and bisexual men, believe there is a touch of homophobic hysteria in the wider public’s reaction to the rare outbreak outside of Africa, where it has long been endemic.

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