From Windy City Times about San Francisco Bathhouses
District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman introduced legislation Tuesday at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors requiring the San Francisco Department of Public Health to remove current regulations requiring the monitoring of patrons’ sexual activities and prohibiting private rooms in bathhouses and commercial adult sex venues.
“Our current regulations for adult sex venues were put in place as an emergency measure at the height of the AIDS crisis when San Francisco was desperate to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS” said Mandelman. “Decades later, with the emergence of PrEP and in light of San Francisco’s reduction in HIV diagnoses to under 200 for the first time since the 1980’s, these regulations — including a ban on private rooms and required monitoring of patrons’ sexual activities — have no public health rationale and need to be changed.”
In 1984, at the height of the AIDS crisis, the City and County of San Francisco filed a lawsuit against the operators of bathhouses, citing them as a public health nuisance. The court issued an order allowing the businesses to remain open on the condition that they employ monitors to prevent unsafe sex from occurring and remove most of the doors to individual video cubicles, booths, or rooms. Although the bathhouses technically could have remained open under the rules established by the court, all of them closed. In 1997, the Department of Public Health adopted minimum standards requiring that patrons’ sexual activities be monitored on a regular basis by staff, and prohibiting venues from having locking booths, cubicles, or rooms. The minimum standards that are in effect today include these same restrictions.
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