Gay Bathhouses and Public Health Policy
Explore the impact of AIDS on the gay bathhouse culture
Public health policy on bathhouses has been limited and poorly documented. This book--the first to be published on this timely and important topic--will help you become knowledgeable about gay bathhouses. Unlike most other places where men have sex in public, gay bathhouses are subject to government-imposed health regulations. Gay Bathhouses and Public Health Policy examines the bathhouse environment and how it differs from other public sex environments. It describes public policies that have been implemented, discussing policies for HIV prevention, testing, and intervention; issues related to civil liberties; and the legal aspects of these policies. This essential book also includes a fascinating chapter about other types of sex businesses--bookstores, theaters, and sex clubs--and how public policy affected them in the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Helpful tables and figures make the information in this well referenced book easy to access and understand.
From the editors: "From a public health perspective, the baths first came to attention as a result of an exponential increase in sexually transmitted infections among men in the 1970s. The spread of these infections among gay men stimulated the public health community to seek ways to combat them. Although there appears to have been some mention of closing bathhouses as an approach, the predominant message was to educate, test, and treat. Of course, AIDS was a different matter in a different time. By early 1984, the once rare call for closure had gained a powerful voice as well as support in powerful gay circles. The tension between the baths and public heath that resulted from the closure debates continues to exist in some cities, but there are also a number of examples of health professionals from local health departments and academic institutions who have established good relationships with owners and managers of bathhouses. Today, 40 of bathhouses in the United States offer HIV testing, which typically requires collaboration either with the local health department or with community-based organizations that run outreach HIV-testing programs."
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