Source: Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:42am ET
..."In a bathhouse you meet a person in the flesh in a relatively safe and clean environment where everyone has the same agenda," said Bill Stackhouse, director of the Institute for Gay Men's Health at the Gay Men's Health Crisis, a group that fights AIDS in New York City.
"It's safer than the Internet, where all you have is a photo and maybe some video footage before you go to someone's home," he said.
There was a time before AIDS when the baths were more integrated into the gay male community," Stackhouse said. "Now they're looked upon as some last resort thing that you do privately and don't talk to your friends about."
Despite popular notions that the clubs are havens for illicit drug use and the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, they are also a place where a captive audience can be taught about safe sex, activists say.
"At least bathhouses are public and a place where you can educate people about disease prevention," said John Riley, of the New York chapter of ACT UP, an AIDS activist group.
"You can't get to them in other places," he said, referring to private sex parties and hooking up online, which have flourished, partly due to the lack of bathhouses.
Volunteers from GMHC visit the clubs twice monthly and hand out condoms and brochures on safe sex, said Mark Kornegay, a GMHC community health specialist.
...However, Peter said that he has encountered many men at the bathhouses who would rather not use protection.
Unprotected sex "seems to be coming back into vogue," he said. "There's a lot of advertising for it in the magazines and demand for it in the personals. I don't know why you'd put your life on the line."
This reminds me of Youth Center in Richmond, VA that was suppose to "help" kids at risk. The way the kids received help? The caring and concerned Adult Activists running the center took children (teenagers) to the "hottest gay clubs in Richmond" and helped teach strange Men how to properly use condoms. All in the name of "safe sex". Great work. eh?
If I am the only one who recognizes the predatory nature of this Beast, may God help us all!