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Sound the “All Clear”

Sound the “All Clear”


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Julie Gerberding in February ended months of federal review of the programs conducted by San Francisco's Stop AIDS Project by declaring that the agency did not misuse federal funds and that the programs are appropriate. The review was prompted by three Republican congressmen and Health and Human Services inspector general Janet Rehnquist, who suggested that some of the agency's workshops violated the federal ban on using government funds for programs that promote sexual activity or are considered obscene. The Stop AIDS Project receives about 38% of its $1.8 million annual budget in federal funds. In a letter to Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), Gerberding said that the programs in question, including those called 'Booty Call,' 'Great Sex,' and 'Sex Toys for Leather Boys' were sound and 'based on current accepted behavioral science theories in the area of health promotion.' She also noted that the projects had been examined and approved by a San Francisco Department of Public Health panel, as required by federal law. While Stop AIDS officials welcomed the CDC's vindication, they continue to believe conservative lawmakers pushing an abstinence-only approach to HIV prevention unfairly targeted the organization. 'The Bush administration'and I include all the senators and staff that instigated the HHS investigation'thought that if they could bring down a well-respected, sex-positive gay organization in a very gay city, it would terrify other AIDS organizations around the country into not talking about sex,' says executive director Darlene Weide.

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