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Plugging Baths
That a 23-line Mulch item ("Sex Takes a Bath") is advertised on the cover of the Feb. 26 SF Weekly is surprising, but its equating of gay bathhouses with Russian roulette represents the kind of analytical intelligence one expects in supermarket tabloids.

Gay bathhouses are open in almost every major city in the Western world (and not a few outside it), except for San Francisco. This is an empirical fact. There is no empirical evidence that bathhouse-going is a risk factor for HIV infection, or that S.F.'s closure of gay bathhouses in 1984 reduced HIV infection.

In the California Constitution, unlike the U.S. one, privacy is a right, and one of Mayor Willie Brown's great legislative achievements was the 1975 law decriminalizing previously proscribed sexual acts between consenting adults. The people at the Feb. 22 Stop AIDS forum who spoke in opposition to governmental regulation of gay sex were not advocating risky sex, but were defending the right to have private spaces in which to negotiate sex.

Stephen O. Murray
Potrero Hill

HIV Still Spreads
Regarding the Mulch item "Sex Takes a Bath," I was dismayed at the attitude of the Stop AIDS Project's media coordinator, David Boyer. His statement that "[W]e're no longer in crisis mode ... and we're planning for a future that includes HIV, AIDS, and safe and public sex" is irresponsible and deadly.

The support network that has evolved over the last 10 years for people with AIDS came about because 1) we were in crisis and 2) we anticipated that people would not continue to contract a preventable deadly disease.

We are fast approaching a time when contributors will ultimately move their energies and dollars to another cause if the "at risk" groups do not respond with personal responsibility, diligence, and sacrifice. "[T]wo men fucking without a condom" may not be any of his business, but it sure the hell is mine.

Loretta Redd

Elite Not on the Street
Kudos to Laura Strauss for calling ACT Up Golden Gate on their "elitist, selfish, narrow-minded" position in regards to social services and People With AIDS (PWAs) in "The AIDS Civil War" (Feb. 19). At a time when Gov. Pete Wilson is calling for the privatization of welfare, take a good look at Pat Christen's S.F. AIDS Foundation. After four years of Clintonism one thing is clear: The wealthiest, most powerful nation in the world will continue to be the only industrialized Western nation without a public health care policy. What you see is what you get: a bureaucracy whose executive staff's combined annual salary is in excess of a million dollars. One need only walk up and down Market Street to see the care homeless PWAs are receiving.

Ronnie Burk
Lower Haight

A.C. by the Bay
Billboards are a travesty ("Where the Coppertone Girl and Carl Lewis Roam," Unspun, Feb. 12). They cheapen the life experience, especially in a region as aesthetically correct as the Bay Area. They are capitalism's ugliest, most vulgar manifestation magnified ad nauseam. I implore Mayor Brown and the Board of Supervisors to ban all billboards within the San Francisco city limits.

Chris Lester


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