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Will San Francisco allow gay bath houses again after 30 years?

Joseph McCormick October 27, 2015

After a ban of three decades, the city of San Francisco could again allow gay bathhouses.

A San Francisco Superior Court judge in 1984 effectively banned bathhouses, at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

It did so by instructing all bathhouses to remove all doors to private rooms, with a view to reduce sexual encounters without condoms.

Since then, people wishing to go to bathhouses have been forced to travel to neighbouring cities, or using sex clubs.

However, San Francisco’s mayor Ed Lee, recently told the Bay Area Reporter that he is “open” to the idea of overturning the 1984 ruling.

“The issue about bathhouses and so forth that is an item that blends entertainment along with safe sex,” said Lee.

“I have got to have experts telling me that is something they wouldn’t have a problem with. I would be open to it but I have got to have that kind of process.”

It is predicted, however, that the Department of Public Health in the city will never shift its position on the ban.

Some have speculated that re-opening bathhouses could affect efforts to reduce the number of new HIV infections.

The rising cost of San Francisco rent and property prices is also seen as a barrier to reopening such establishments.

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