BAPHR's Role

Hughes

Well, you told me last time that you wanted to talk about the bathhouse issue.


Campbell

Oh, yes.


Hughes

According to a The BAPHRON editorial in 1984, Silverman, who of course was director of public health at that time, requested community leadership by BAPHR in the bathhouse crisis. Why did he turn to BAPHR?


Campbell

In 1984, we were really considered to be the experts about AIDS transmission. We had published the guidelines, and we were seeing people with AIDS, and we had a knowledge of gay lifestyle. And so he consulted BAPHR as sort of a panel of experts.


Hughes

He also consulted academics at UCSF and San Francisco General, because some of those people sat on his AIDS advisory committee, as did people from BAPHR. But from that statement, it sounded as though he prioritized advice from BAPHR. Is that how it felt at the time?


Campbell

Yes, but I think he was going to the academic people too.


Hughes

In July of 1984, Will Warner wrote to Silverman on behalf of BAPHR's AIDS Resource Group.

28. W.L. Warner to Mervyn Silverman, July 25, 1984. (Dean Echenberg papers, San Francisco Department of Public Health, Bureau of Epidemiology and Communicable Disease Control, drawer: Bathhouses, folder: 10-10-84 Declarations in Support, vol. 1.)

Now, is that the same thing as the Scientific Committee?


Campbell

I don't know what the AIDS Resource Group would be. About that time, there were between twelve and twenty people in BAPHR who were either BAPHR officers or chairs of committees that took a vote on that issue.


Hughes

Warner said, "BAPHR stands ready to assist the [health] Department in transferring the main issue of safe sex and role of the bath houses back to the gay community, if that is indeed


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possible. We can reactivate our dormant program that was being developed several months ago for working with bath house owners. We also have some ideas for setting up a monitoring system with the assistance of other non-medical gay organizations." In July 1984, the bathhouses were still open. They were not closed until October.


Campbell

That's correct.


Hughes

Do you remember this period?


Campbell

Yes.


Hughes

What was behind this statement?


Campbell

I think the bathhouses had posted guidelines, but they might not have been everywhere where one could see them. They did have supplies of condoms. I know that by then, they had to have those two features.