November #76 : St. Louis Blues - by Suzy Martin

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Masters of Disasters

Out of the Chaos, Voices

The Mighty ACT UP Has Fallen: The Philadelphia Story

Hit Me, Baby, One More Time

Final Chapters

Pilgrim's Progress

St. Louis Blues

Obits

Truth and Dare

Dateline Dec. 1

Psst...Get This

Hope Screens Eternal

Hearts & Crafts

Shelf Life

Treatment Interruptus

New Drug Watch: Tenofovir

The Real Female Rubber

Twice Bitten

SAY WHAT?

Curve Ball

Heart Smart?

Darkness at Noon

Stranger in a Strange Land

Editor's Letter

Mailbox

The Face of Terror



Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


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November 2001

St. Louis Blues

by Suzy Martin

In St. Louis, a city with some 4,000 PWAs where blacks are nine times more likely than whites to get HIV, you might think citizens would appreciate some public displays of prevention. Well, think again. Less than 24 hours after a government-funded series of 9 safe-sex billboards went up in different districts, Mayor Francis Slay ordered them down, citing indecency complaints from local yokels.

Now, we're not talking even soft porn. The billboards depict two black men in a tender embrace, and the cries of "Not in My Backyard" came from the predominantly white Hill 'hood, says Erise Williams, director of Blacks Assisting Blacks Against AIDS, a St. Louis-based AIDS service organization. Of course, in black neighborhoods, too, "some people sprayed graffiti or tried to take them down," Williams says, "but never went so far as to call the mayor." (The mayor's office and the St. Louis Department of Health both refused to comment to POZ.)

A case of double trouble with gay and black eroticism? Yes, Williams says, but the ads were targeted for the Hill specifically because of its gay residents and AIDS caseload, among the highest in the city. Now local gay and AIDS groups are looking for a private donor to sponsor the ads -- no government coins means no government control.




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