Athens’ Prevention & Testing Center “Checkpoint”, which provides free and confidential rapid testing for HIV and Hepatitis B and C, fell victim to an arson attack before dawn on Ash Monday, 11 March, and the volunteer staff have attributed the attack to homophobic motives.
The fire broke out on the first floor of the building in the Monastiraki area of Athens and resulted in major material damage, but the blaze was stopped from spreading in the highly frequented neighbourhood due to the immediate intervention of the Fire Service.
The culprits tore down the LGBTQ rainbow flag on the balcony, from which they gained access to the offices and set the fire with gasoline, according to the Fire Service.
The last volunteers left the premises at half past midnight, less than two hours before the fire broke out.
The Checkpoint has processed over 100,000 free, anonymous rapid testings for HIV and hepatitis and is a joint initiative of Thetiki Foni (Positive Voice, Greece’s HIV-Positive Association) and the AHF (Aids Healthcare Foundation) Europe.
About 30 percent of the new HIV cases in Greece are diagnosed at the Checkpoint, which also offers counseling.