On World AIDS Day, No Talk of 'Barebacking' in San Francisco

Today is World AIDS Day, and the men and women who have devoted themselves to fighting this pandemic — from Bono to former President George W. Bush — can justifiably take credit for a lot of progress.

The day has particular resonance in San Francisco, which was at the forefront of formulating a public-health response to AIDS in the U.S. in the 1980s. As Mayor Ed Lee said today on Twitter, the city “has been a leader in fight against HIV/AIDS since first cases 30 yrs ago. Today, we remember & recommit to finding a cure.”

But are San Francisco officials and activists still fully committed to fighting the spread of HIV and AIDS? That contention was seriously called into question last month by SF Weekly staff writer Taylor Friedman. In a Nov. 9 cover story, Friedman revealed the curious indifference public-health authorities show toward increasingly popular parties devoted to unprotected sex, or “barebacking,” among gay men.

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