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Dallas AIDS official lashes out against gays

Dallas AIDS official lashes out against gays

Don Sneed, the controversial African-American cofounder and CEO of the Dallas-based AIDS service organization Renaissance III, last week announced that he is no longer a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS with a letter that attacks gay men and lesbians. Sneed, a gay Republican activist and member of the Abe Lincoln Black Republican Caucus, a gay group that supported the reelection of President Bush, wrote to Brent Minor, chairman of PACHA's Treatment and Care Committee, saying, "As a black grassroots Republican activist, my hands are becoming quite full as we continue to beat back the scourge of 'marriage for gays,' which would have a most detrimental effect on the black family should it come to pass." The letter was announced by Sneed himself in a press release issued by Renaissance III on December 8. Sneed, who previously produced a DVD titled The Emancipation of the Homosexual: The End of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement, also claimed in his letter that too much federal AIDS money goes to groups helping to prevent HIV infections among gay men and to treat gays who have contracted the virus. "Family-oriented, God-loving black conservative grassroots Republicans are presently organizing to end the stranglehold that the 'Homosexual Power Elite,' via AIDS Action, HRC [the Human Rights Campaign], and other homosexual organizations, presently maintain on the domestic AIDS relief budget," he wrote. "As I have expressed, on the record, that in my opinion, experience, and knowledge, this stranglehold has led to unnecessary deaths and suffering of black Americans from the AIDS virus. My continued service on PACHA will never fix this." Sneed writes that he was informed on December 6 that he was no longer a member of PACHA. "Having been appointed by [Health and Human Services] secretary Thompson, and with his moving on, I have received notice that my appointment has been rescinded and my input and advice no longer required." Renaissance III, based in south Dallas, works to prevent HIV infections among at-risk groups, including gay men and African-Americans. The Dallas Morning News reported in August that the organization was ordered to pay back $112,867 to the federal government because of questionable expenses, including staff bonuses. Auditors said the organization did not meet financial guidelines outlined by the Ryan White Act. "Due to the serious nature of the findings and the significant questioned costs, we do not recommend consideration of future awards to the agency until such time as the agency has fully reimbursed all questioned costs and provided sufficient evidence that management is in place to ensure financial accountability," county auditor Virginia Porter wrote in the audit report. Sneed claimed the errors were a bookkeeping problem. Renaissance III also was ordered in February to repay the Texas Department of Health nearly $77,000 in state grants.

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