California AIDS officials work with gay sex club owners

BY Advocate.com Editors

April 16 2003 12:00 AM ET

Officials with California's Office of AIDS have been meeting with owners and representatives of sex clubs and bathhouses throughout the state in an effort to boost safer-sex practices in the venues, reports the Bay Area Reporter. Health officials recently met with sex club owners in San Francisco and held a similar meeting with sex club operators in Los Angeles in early April. An upcoming meeting is planned in San Diego later this month.

Some San Francisco sex club owners, noting that health officials in the city closed down bathhouses and sex clubs in the 1980s, had been concerned that the meetings might lead to more closures but were surprised to find that the Office of AIDS staff wanted only to work with the groups to create prevention programs for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. "During this meeting I must have heard from health officials at least 10 times, 'We are not interested in closing you down, we're interested in working with you,'" said Buzz Bense, owner of Eros in San Francisco. The meeting was the first between state-level officials and Bay Area sex venue operators.

Sex clubs are a logical place to address HIV/STDs, and prevention and testing programs in such venues should be supported by local health officials, said Steven Tierney, director of HIV prevention for San Francisco. All of the sex clubs in the state currently offer condoms to patrons, and most also offer brochures and other handouts about safer sex and HIV prevention. State health officials are working with the owners of sex clubs and bathhouses to also include regular on-site HIV and STD counseling and testing.

Tags: Health

AddThis

READER COMMENTS ()

Quantcast