Ohio Health Officials Anticipate Spread of Diseases from Bathhouse Sex

There are six homosexual bathhouses in Ohio, at least according to one online directory:

  • Club Wolf (owned by Ray Wolf), operates in Cleveland and Columbus
  • Flex (owned by Charles Fleck)
  • Akron Steam & Sauna
  • Diplomat Baths in Toledo

The following is excerpted from Cleveland Health Officials Scrutinize Opening of New Bathhouse, published Jul 16, 2006, by Associated Press:

City health officials want the owner of a new, upscale gay bathhouse [Flex] to provide condoms, offer customers regular HIV testing and appoint employees to answer questions about preventing sexually transmitted diseases…

“I think it’s going to be a big mess in the not-too-distant future,” said William Tiedemann, AIDS director for the Cleveland Department of Public Health.

Last year, an 11-year-high 118 new HIV diagnoses were reported among Cleveland residents, according statistics gathered by the city health department. As of Dec. 31, 2,458 Cleveland residents had been reported as living with HIV or AIDS, a rate of about 514 per 100,000 residents, and about four times the state rate.

Two of every three Ohio cases of HIV/AIDS occur in men, and homosexual sex is believed to be the source of many infections.

Charles Fleck, founder and owner of the Flex club, said he’s concerned about health and safety at the club. He said he wants to work with the health department to ensure that customers are protected.

“Look, I’m a gay man,” he said. “I went through the entire AIDS saga, and I am still going through it.”

City Councilman Joe Cimperman, who learned about the project 18 months ago when an architect contacted the city zoning board, said he has few concerns. Cimperman said he asked about public health measures and was told that condoms and prevention messages would circulate throughout the club.Public health officials and AIDS activists in Cleveland said they aren’t opposed to bathhouses. Research has shown they are a valuable and convenient venue for promoting safer sex practices, and AIDS organizations acknowledge that the clubs are safer for gay men than cruising other areas, such as parks.

Flex will compete with a smaller gay bathhouse, Club Cleveland, located in the same area. Club Cleveland has always provided HIV testing and free condoms, said owner Ray Wolf.

When Flex opens, it will become the fifth bathhouse in Ohio. The Flex and Club chains both have branches in Columbus. A bathhouse in Toledo is independently operated.

Flex’s other location are in New Orleans and Phoenix.

Continue reading at Free Republic…

This article was posted on Monday, November 13th, 2006 at 9:43 pm and is filed under Bathhouses, Physical Health. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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