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National News

St. Louis: AIDS Agency that Hired Porn Star Loses Aid

November 1, 2002

The St. Louis Health Department has canceled the remainder of a $96,000 grant with a local AIDS agency that hired a gay porn actor to speak to young men at a safer sex event. In a meeting Thursday, city Health Director Dr. Hugh Stallworth informed representatives of Blacks Assisting Blacks Against AIDS of his action.

Stallworth said he acted upon what the actor wore during the meeting, not his profession or allegations that he stripped and had sexual conduct with some of the two dozen guests. Without discussing the specifics of dress, Stallworth said, "We believe the individual did have a limited amount of clothes on, and we deemed it was an inappropriate use of federal money." BABAA Director Erise Williams Jr. denied the charges of nudity and sexual contact but acknowledged that the actor, Edgar Gaines of Memphis, appeared wearing a towel and boots. The agency spent $500 from the grant to hire Gaines, whose film name is Bobby Blake, to speak at the July 20 gathering at Williams' residence.

BABAA's board put Williams on paid leave on Wednesday, pending its own review. The city began investigating the matter based on the allegations of two former group employees.

Stallworth said he did not know how much of the $96,000 grant to fight syphilis is left but noted that it runs out Dec. 31. Auditors from the city comptroller's office will continue examining BABAA's financial records, he said, and the agency may have to refund some money. Mark Pasewark, the AIDS group's attorney, said the group has agreed to the termination of this year's syphilis contract, the remaining portion of which he estimated at $6,000. In total, BABAA receives about $1.6 million annually in government assistance.

Back to other CDC news for November 1, 2002

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
10.31.02; Tim O'Neil

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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