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bathhouse raises HIV fears

bathhouse raises HIV fears

Some health officials in Cleveland are worried that a 50,000-square-foot gay bathhouse scheduled to open next month in the city could interfere with efforts to lower rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, The Plain Dealer reports.

According to the city health department, new HIV infections reached an 11-year high in 2005, with most of the cases being among gay or bisexual men. Health experts worry that unprotected sex at the planned bathhouse, called Flex, will boost that rate even higher. They're hoping to include HIV awareness programs, HIV antibody testing, and condom distribution campaigns at the facility. Charles Fleck, Flex's owner, has said he will sign an agreement addressing the health department's concerns before the bathhouse opens.

Flex will be the fifth gay bathhouse in Ohio--there are two in Cleveland, two in Columbus, and one in Toledo. (The Advocate)

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