Stop AIDS Project to Remove ‘Obscene’ Material from HIV Prevention Programs
Officials with the San Francisco Stop AIDS Project have said they will bring their programs into compliance with CDC regulations regarding sexually explicit material, following a report by HHS Inspector General Janet Rehnquist that showed the group had used federal funds for workshops that were "too sexy," the AP/Contra Costa Times reports (Mason, AP/Contra Costa Times, 11/17). The report said that the San Francisco Stop AIDS Project, which received nearly $700,000 in federal funds last year, used some of that money to provide HIV prevention workshops that encouraged sexual activity and met the "legal definition of obscene material." CDC guidelines for HIV prevention programs state that the programs cannot promote sexual activity or intravenous drug use and must meet the obscenity standards set forth in the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Case Miller v. California. The report singled out two Stop AIDS Project programs as examples of material that was obscene or encouraged sexual activity (California Healthline, 11/16).
Steven Tierney, director of HIV prevention at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said that city officials will ensure that the project's programs are "in compliance with CDC regulations," adding that compliance will require "a lot of time and money." However, he noted that the city's declining HIV infection rates are "proof the [project's] messages work" and that the investigation into the Stop AIDS Project is fueled by "conservative" lawmakers' desire to "promot[e] abstinence." Tierney said, "The folks who are connected with religious organizations and their philosophies around sexual behavior are different than ours. We're not encouraging sex, but we're acknowledging that 40,000 new infections (nationwide) are occurring, and that's proof that people are having sex." Tierney said that a local committee overseen by the city health department will monitor the Stop AIDS Project to ensure that the CDC's guidelines are met (AP/Contra Costa Times, 11/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.