AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s been two years since Pride last happened in Austin. Although there’s a tremendous amount of excitement surrounding the return of Pride, it also comes at a time when the City of Austin and Travis County have declared monkeypox a public health emergency.

The Pride parade will happen Thursday and as Dr. Michael Stefanowicz, the sexual health programs associate director for CommUnity Care notes, “from a health equity perspective, this virus is disproportionately impacting gay and bisexual men.”

With 93 confirmed cases of the virus in Travis County, Stefanowicz said there could be some spread. It can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, sexually or through infected clothing. But Stefanowicz also says it should not be a reason to not attend the event.

“The overall risk of attending pride as a participant, they’re going to the parade going to the Pride festival, your risk of acquiring monkey pox there is categorically low,” he said. In fact, Stefanowicz, a gay man himself, said he will be at the event.

Also there will be Sal Ramirez, who volunteered Friday to help put the final preparations in place for the festival.

“Coming out of COVID and now with monkey pox, I think everyone is prepared that they know how to prepare better for themselves health-wise,” he said.

There are ways to make sure you stay safe: in advance of the event that includes hand washing, staying home if you’re sick, keeping your distance from folks and wearing a mask, according to the Austin-Travis County health authority.

Stefanowicz also said if you’ve been exposed or have close contact, it’s still important to get vaccinated — if possible — against monkeypox. The vaccine can help fight off symptoms or the disease altogether.

You can find out if you’re eligible here.

“I also say that as a gay doctor myself, I will be attending pride this year,” Stefanowicz said.