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County Sues Bathhouses in Push Against AIDS

From Associated Press

A Los Angeles County lawsuit against four homosexual bathhouses contends that the establishments are failing to institute measures to reduce the risk of AIDS.

In the Superior Court complaint, the county said Midtown Spa, Melrose Baths, The Compound and The Meatrack have failed to provide staff to monitor the activities in the clubs.

The suit, filed Wednesday, also accused the bathhouses of failing to expel patrons who engage in high-risk sexual activity, to keep logs of those expelled, to post signs warning of the dangers of various forms of homosexual encounter and to remove private areas in the establishments.

The suit seeks a court order barring the facilities’ owners from operating the baths in a manner that constitutes a public health nuisance and requiring owners to cooperate with the county.

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The Midtown Spa and Melrose Baths, operated by Marty Ramond Benson, are in compliance with county requirements, said Barrett Litt, an attorney for Benson. Litt said the critical issue is one of the right to privacy.

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome cripples the body’s disease-fighting immune system, leaving its victims vulnerable to a variety of life-threatening infections and certain cancers. AIDS is caused by a virus believed to be passed through blood and semen, but not through casual contact.


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