St. Louis AIDS group returns money used to hire gay porn star

BY Advocate.com Editors

January 30 2003 12:00 AM ET

A St. Louis AIDS organization that came under scrutiny last fall after reports surfaced that the agency hired a gay porn star to appear at a safer-sex event has agreed to repay the city the $500 in health department funds paid to the actor. Blacks Assisting Blacks Against AIDS had paid Edgar Gaines, who performs under the name Bobby Blake, to appear at a July 20 event held at the home of former BABAA director Erise Williams Jr. Gaines reportedly appeared at the event wearing only a towel and boots, and some of the event attendees say that Gaines was nude at one point and allowed guests at the event to fondle him. Williams and BABAA senior director James Green were fired in November.

The St. Louis Health Department in November froze the remainder of a $96,000 grant to BABAA for syphilis prevention education, from which Gaines's appearance fee was drawn, and declined to renew the grant in 2003. The $500 was returned to the health department at the prompting of city auditors. BABAA officials say the agency will continue to serve HIV-positive people in the St. Louis area and that the organization hopes to win back the syphilis prevention grant. Williams and Green have filed suit against BABAA in St. Louis district court regarding their dismissals. A hearing is scheduled for February 24.

Tags: Health

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