May 2, 2008
HIV Official Won’t Reopen San Francisco Bathhouses
At a recent community meeting in San Francisco, the city’s new HIV prevention director said he is not prepared to support ending a decades-long ban on city bathhouses, according to the Bay Area Reporter (ebar.com, 4/24).
During the meeting, held April 23, Dr. Grant Colfax, director of HIV prevention at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said it would be “very difficult to justify re-opening the baths,” citing data showing that men engage in risky sexual behaviors in bathhouses.
According to the article, Ken Pearce, a member of San Francisco’s HIV Prevention Planning Council, raised the bathhouse issue during the meeting, saying he believes the policy was practical in the ‘80s, but not today.
“Why can't we have a discussion on whether this makes sense to continue to ban bathhouses?” asked Pearce. “We know people are going outside the city when they want to go to the baths.”
According to Pearce, city bathhouses would provide another outlet for reaching customers directly with HIV-prevention resources.
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