Monday, June 23, 2003


June, Gay Pride Month, is the perfect time of year for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to publicly commit to assessing its myriad HIV prevention programs, especially those targeting gay men.

Atlanta’s Southern Voice newspaper on June 20 ran a balanced story by reporter Christopher Seely about CDC’s recent letter to Rep. Mark Souder spelling out the agency’s development of “plans to periodically review all grantees to assess their effectiveness,” and continuing complaints the Congressman and I have raised about the Stop AIDS Project.

One quote in Seely’s excellent article, from Jimmy Loyce, the head of the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s AIDS Office, reveals how for many people who work in AIDS Inc, the issue foremost on their minds is increased funding.

Loyce, in response to my demands for proof of effectiveness from the Stop AIDS Project to actually halt new HIV infections and other sexually transmitted diseases, said: “Until the federal government – without reducing the dollars to prevention services – is willing to pay for long term studies to determine the impact of HIV incidence and prevalence as a result of our prevention strategies, it is an unfounded mandate for them to say we need to do some long term studies of our own.”

I must point out that the University of California at San Francisco’s Centers for AIDS Prevention Studies receives millions of federal dollars annually to design, implement and assess HIV prevention programs and messages. But even with millions in government grants, UCSF’s CAPS is unable to produce hard, verifiable evidence showing the effectiveness not only of the Stop AIDS Project, but also of the other HIV prevention efforts in CAPS’s own backyard.

In my opinion, it should be a relative snap for the SF DPH and CAPS to whip out tons of documentation proving the effectiveness of Geezer Balls, HIV bowling leagues, trips to the zoo, flirting classes, etc., but they can’t, so Loyce and his ilk try to divert attention from current HIV and STD epidemiologic reports showing increasing rates and instead call for additional dollars for more studies.

Why no one in the SF DPH AIDS Office or at UCSF CAPS has thought to prove the effectiveness of the Stop AIDS Project and similar groups illustrates how little thought they have given to determining the efficacy of HIV prevention programs.

There is nothing objectionable to Souder and I calling on the CDC and its grantees to prove their HIV prevention workshops and messages are working.

Gay men in San Francisco should have been asking the CDC a long time ago for honest, scientific evaluations of the Stop AIDS Project and all such groups that target us.

Here’s Seely’s article from Southern Voice.
- - -

June 20, 2003
Southern Voice
Atlanta, GA

CDC threatens funding for Calif. AIDS program
Activist, congressman question effectiveness of Stop AIDS in San Francisco


In an apparent about-face, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention in Atlanta sent a letter June 13 to San Francisco’s Stop AIDS Project cautioning the group to comply with federal funding guidelines that do not permit recipients to promote sexual activity.

If the group does not comply, CDC will pull its funding, according to the letter.

The letter Stop AIDS received provided three specific examples of programs targeted at gay men that violated the federal Public Health Service Act, which does not allow funding to “be used to provide education or information designed to promote or encourage, directly, homosexual or heterosexual activity.”

Separate letters also went to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, which oversees activities at Stop AIDS, and to Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), who since 2001 has funneled a steady stream of complaints filed by a gay AIDS activist about Stop AIDS through his office to the CDC.

“We are very pleased that the CDC will finally begin routinely assessing federal HIV prevention programs to ensure that they are effective in preventing HIV and STDs and comply with federal laws,” Roland Foster, an aide to Souder, said this week.

But the letter to Souder, signed by CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding, contradicts a letter she sent to him four months ago that supported the programs at Stop AIDS. The letter sent in February stated that Stop AIDS prevention techniques were “in compliance” with current guidelines.

Souder and Michael Petrelis, the controversial AIDS activist who alerted Souder to Stop AIDS’ programs, believe the effectiveness of current HIV prevention methods need to be assessed.

But Stop AIDS and the San Francisco Public Health Department contend that the CDC fell prey to pressure from a heightened conservative political environment that is taking aim at HIV and STD prevention organizations that frankly address gay sex.

“It is clear that this is not a political climate that supports an honest, open, and realistic discussion of sex, particularly sex between gay men, and it is having a chilling effect on the kind of research and grassroots organizing that is being done,” said Shana Krochmal, spokesperson for Stop AIDS.

Too sexy for the feds
The CDC letters cited workshops titled “In Our Prime: Men for Hire,” for older men to learn safety tips when dealing with escorts, “Bootylicious,” a discussion on ways to improve anal sex and be safe, and “Oral Sex = Safe Sex?” for men to acquire new information on oral sex.

“We don’t think we are promoting sex,” said Krochmal, spokesperson for Stop AIDS. “We are providing a forum for men who have already chosen to be sexually active.”

But the CDC did not object to the content of the workshops, just the way Stop AIDS marketed the programs with titles that promote sexual activity, said Kathy Harben, CDC spokesperson.

“We’re not saying it can’t be discussed at all, but it can’t be designed to promote sexual activity,” Harben said.
Harben declined to go into specifics about how the titles appeared to violate the law.

Souder’s office did not comment directly on the three controversial programs, instead saying that Stop AIDS has not proven its effectiveness because HIV infection rates are increasising despite the increased amount of funding for HIV prevention.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health stands by Stop AIDS’ marketing strategies and claims the sexy titles encourage participation from a younger generation being infected with HIV at higher rates.

The CDC should not consider the racy programs when applying federal law because none of the three workshops in question are funded with CDC money, according to Krochmal and Jimmy Loyce, deputy director of health for AIDS programs in San Francisco’s public health department.

City and state funds pay for the three programs that cost about $1,500, Loyce said.

The CDC grants an estimated $600,000 both directly and through the city to Stop AIDS for HIV prevention every year, Krochmal said.

Politics at play?
The current funding threat to Stop AIDS follows an investigation launched last summer to evaluate the scientific merit of Stop AIDS, and a 2001 report by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services that said Stop AIDS’ programs could be construed to encourage sexual activity and to be “obscene.”

Gerberding launched the investigation last year partly in response to complaints received about Stop AIDS’ HIV educational sessions, she wrote in a letter to Stop AIDS then.

At the time, Petrelis, who lives in San Francisco and is HIV-positive, had been lodging complaints about Stop AIDS for years with HHS, CDC, and the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee On Criminal Justice, Drug Policy & Human Resources. Souder chairs the subcommittee, according to Foster, his spokesperson.

Souder, named by critics as a leader in the conservative movement against Stop AIDS, followed procedure and began forwarding Petrelis’ complaints to HHS and CDC when Petrelis grabbed Souder’s attention in 2001, according to Foster.

The investigation last year, though, found Stop AIDS to be compliant with federal guidelines and the programs “based on current accepted behavioral science theories in the area of health promotion,” Gerberding wrote in a Feb. 13 letter to Souder.

But Stop AIDS contends officials at the CDC buckled under political pressure and compromised scientific integrity because of the repeated requests by Souder’s office to demand further proof of the group’s effectiveness even after Gerberding’s initial analysis.

“The science in question is being subjected to a number of political tests,” Krochmal said. “We don’t want to be in a position to choose between federal funding and being true to the community and what they need out of an HIV prevention agency.”

CDC remains committed to ensuring the efficacy and compliance of federally funded HIV programs, but politics do come into play when making decisions, Harben said.

“It’s a fact that elected officials are also an audience of ours,” she said. “We consider their concerns as we consider other concerns brought to our attention, but the CDC remains committed to science.”

Effective measure?
The day Souder received his letter from Gerberding was a landmark in the history of HIV prevention because it shows the federal government questioning the effectiveness of HIV prevention organizations, according to Petrelis, an activist known for his frequent criticisms of AIDS organizations.

“It’s year 22 of the AIDS epidemic and the CDC is finally developing plans to measure effectiveness,” he said.

The most recent letter to Souder assured him that the CDC is “developing plans to periodically review all grantees to assess their effectiveness.”

Petrelis looks at the steps being taken by CDC as a way to hold AIDS groups accountable for the funds they receive, and not as a threat.

“I don’t believe asking the CDC for proof of effectiveness with these groups should be in any way detrimental to them,” he said. “Gay men should be asking the CDC for proof since so many of their programs affect us.”

The federal government, not Stop AIDS, is responsible for providing the in-depth analysis that Souder and Petrelis demand, Loyce said.

“Until the federal government — without reducing the dollars to prevention services — is willing to pay for long term studies to determine the impact of HIV incidence and prevalence as a result of our prevention strategies, it is an unfunded mandate for them to say we need to do some long term studies of our own,” he said.

‘Whisper campaign’
Federal grants to research HIV prevention efforts might be hindered by a recent government “whisper campaign” to weed out grant proposals that use “key words” identified by scientists in the New York Times in April, according to Dr. Kenneth Haller, president of the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association.

The New York Times article reported that several researchers who would not reveal their names received instructions from officials with the CDC and the National Institutes of Health to avoid “key words” on grant applications that include “men who sleep with men” and “anal sex.”

“There is no paper trail, no e-mails or directives from government agencies,” Haller said. “It is purely a whisper campaign, which makes it much more dangerous.”

HHS denies the allegations made by the scientists.

“There is no such effort,” said Bill Pierce, spokesperson for the federal agency.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003


It does appear as though my letter to HHS Inspector General Janet Rehnquist has prompted HHS to query CDC about my concerns regarding five year’s worth of federal grants to the SF Department of Public Health for effective HIV prevention efforts.

If anyone wants to know why I want HHS and CDC to audit how SF DPH has used $86 million over five years for HIV prevention, surveillance and testing, it’s simple: The federal government must once and for all prove that the HIV prevention programs it funds in San Francisco are indeed stopping AIDS.

If they are, then where’s the verifiable proof of effectiveness. On the other hand, if the HIV prevention messages and workshops aren’t effective, then we need to examine why they are failing.

Let’s hope the CDC responds to HHS about my concerns with 30 days.
- - -

June 13, 2003

Michael Petrelis
2215-R Market Street, #413
San Francisco, CA 94114

Dear Mr. Petrelis:

This is in response to your letter to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) requesting an audit of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HIV/AIDS prevention funding awarded to the San Francisco Department of Health (SF DOH) [sic] for the past 5 fiscal years. In your letter, you raised concerns that the CDC-funded programs, totaling over $86 million for that period, have not resulted in the reduction of new HIV infections.

We are referring your concerns to CDC for review and appropriate action. We believe that CDC is in the best position to review the issues you raised because its program officials have worked with the SF DOH [sic] throughout this time period and are familiar with the program prevention initiatives, the expected outcomes, and the epidemiological and demographic influences affecting program performance.

As you may know, OIG is currently conducting several reviews related to the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) funding in the HIV/AIDS area. Two such reviews are underway in California involving the Health Resources and Services Administration Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources and Emergency Act funding. One is focused on Title I funding to the SF Eligible Metropolitan Area, for which SF DOH is the grantee; and the other is focused on Title II funding, particularly the state's implementation of the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. We are also reviewing selected CDC HIV/AIDS prevention grantees in other parts of the country. All of these reviews are primarily addressing financial accountability issues.

Thank you for sharing your concerns about the CDC HIV/AIDS prevention program. If you have documented evidence of any specific instances of waste, fraud, or abuse in the HIV/AIDS grant areas, please forward them to our office.

Sincerely yours,
Dennis J. Duquette
Deputy Inspector General for Audit Services
Office of the Inspector General
Department of Health and Human Services
Washington, DC


June 13, 2003

TO: Joseph E. Salter, Director
Management Procedures Branch
Management Analysis and Services Office
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

FROM: Dennis J. Duquette
Deputy Inspector General for Audit Services
Department of Health and Human Services

SUBJECT: Private Citizen Concerns about the Effectiveness of the HIV/AIIDS Prevention Program in San Francisco

The purpose of this memorandum is to forward for your review and appropriate action the attached correspondence we received from a private citizen concerned about Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grant funding awarded to the San Francisco Department of Health (SF DOH) [sic] over the past 5 years. The citizen is concerned that the CDC-funded programs, totaling over $86 million for that period, have not resulted in the reduction of new HIV infections.

We believe that CDC is in the best position at this time to review the issues raised in the letter because its program officials have worked with the SF DOH [sic] throughout this time period and are familiar with the program prevention initiatives, the expected outcomes, and the epidemiological and demographic influences affecting program performance.

Please let us know within 30 days what actions you plan to take to address the citizen's concerns. If you would like to discuss this referral, please call Donald L. Dille, Assistant Inspector General for Grants and Internal Activities, at (202) 619-1175 or through e-mail at

Saturday, June 14, 2003


Friday the 13th was a lucky day for me, and, by extension, for the gay male community because it was the day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent a letter to Rep. Mark Souder, R-IN, stating the federal agency was “developing plans to periodically review all grantees to assess their effectiveness.”

This relatively innocuous statement represents an enormous shift for the CDC in that the agency, instead of continually shoveling millions of dollars for HIV prevention at local nonprofits without demands that the they produce effective workshops and messages that actually prevent new HIV infections, will soon measure the effectiveness of CDC-funded groups.

Believe it or not, up until now, the CDC has not insisted on proof that its HIV prevention partners at the grassroots level actually reduce the number of new infections, but thanks to my efforts with Souder’s staff, that is about to change.

I’ve worked with Souder pointing out what I believe are ineffectual programs of the Stop AIDS Project, funded by CDC. It’s taken almost three years for CDC to agree with us that asking the Stop AIDS Project, and all HIV prevention groups funded by the agency, produce evidence documenting that their programs are meeting their stated goals of averting new infections.

Sure, Souder’s staff and I have been vilified for even asking that the Stop AIDS Project prove its effectiveness, amid claims by the San Francisco Department of Public Health that the city is undergoing sub-Saharan levels of HIV transmissions, but the vilification really does not matter, because in the end, the CDC will now assess the project’s effectiveness.

This assessment will assist the gay community in San Francisco in evaluating HIV prevention endeavors and their supposed worthiness. For more years than I care to count, no one bothered has asked the Stop AIDS Project to demonstrate its effectiveness, and thanks to Souder listening to me, that is about to change.

With the CDC doling out grants for seemingly endless and pervasive social marketing campaigns targeting gay men wherever we gather in San Francisco, whether for sexual liaisons or a simple cup of coffee, along with flirting classes and annual Geezer Balls, workshops on how to negotiate relationships with rent boys and male escorts, a four-part workshop on cruising the web for sexual sites and connections, it has long been time for the federal government to prove, with hard scientific evidence, such campaigns reduce HIV transmissions.

I am happy to be alive to witness this change on the CDC’s part and will always remember this Friday the 13th as the dawning of a new day for much-needed AIDS accountability.

Below is the text of the letter CDC sent to Sounder yesterday.

- - -

June 13, 2003

The Honorable Mark E. Souder
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. Souder:

I am writing in follow-up to my letter dated February 13, 2003, and to address concerns raised by your staff regarding the effectiveness of HIV prevention efforts in general and, more specifically, about recent activities of the Stop AIDS Project. I hope to meet in person with you soon to discuss these issues further since I know we share a commitment to reduce the incidence of HIV and apply effective methods in preventing infectious diseases through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s HIV prevention activities.

CDC has a longstanding history of building effective public health programs on a solid foundation of the best possible surveillance data. Over the past two decades, the sensitivity of the HIV/AIDS issue has often made it difficult to obtain precise information about incidence. However, advancements in technology now offer new tools for securing a more accurate estimate of HIV incidence. Specifically, a new assay allowing us to determine how recently individuals became infected should contribute to great accuracy of information about new infections. CDC will continue to take advantage of new technologies, such as the new assay, to ensure that our prevention efforts are driven by the best possible data that ultimately will help us achieve the goal of reducing HIV incidence.

I am also deeply committed to ensuring the efficacy of CDC-funded programs and will take steps to make sure that appropriate measures are in place to achieve the desired results. To follow through on this commitment, we are developing plans to periodically review all grantees to assess their effectiveness, as well as intensify our efforts to assess compliance with statutory and grant management requirements. I look forward to discussing these steps with you personally.

In addition to your concerns about the general effectiveness about CDC’s HIV prevention programs, you have communicated to CDC your specific concerns regarding the CDC-funded activities of the San Francisco Stop AIDS Project. I, too, share your concerns. Under Section 2500 of Public Health Service Act, it is illegal to use federal dollars intended for HIV/AIDS prevention programs designed to promote or encourage, directly, sexual activity. As the Director of CDC, I am committed to ensuring that CDC funds are not used in this manner.

Recent experiences with the Stop AIDS Project indicate that CDC current approach of utilizing community boards to review local program activities in not adequate to ensure compliance with Section 2500. Recent Stop AIDS workshop titles and program descriptions that involve, for example, advice on promoting relations with escorts and prostitutes, in my view, appear to violate Section 2500. Workshops that are consistent with such program titles would also appear to violate Section 2500. In order to rectify this situation, CDC is taking the following actions:

- A letter is being sent to the Stop AIDS Project to provide notice of the appearance of a violation to refrain from using program titles, descriptions, marketing materials, or programs that are designed to directly promote or encourage sexual activity, including prostitution.

- A letter is also being sent to the San Francisco Department of Public Health reminding them of their responsibility to ensure that materials approved by the Program Review Panel, under the auspices of their office, are consistent with provisions of Section 2500.

- CDC will notify HIV prevention program grantees about their obligations to comply with Section 2500.

- CDC is revising its guidance to grantees to provide clear and specific instructions regarding compliance with Section 2500.

- In the case of directly funded community-based organizations, CDC will intensify oversight of grantee activities to determine compliance with relevant CDC guidance.

- CDC will take action to ensure that accountable sate or local health officials independently review federally-funded HIV prevention materials for compliance with Section 2500 and approve the use of such materials in their jurisdiction for directly and indirectly funded organizations.

- All grantees will be required to certify they are complying with revised CDC guidelines. Programs that refuse to comply will not be eligible for federal funding. CDC will also conduct reviews of grantees, including Stop AIDS, to ensure compliance with federal law, regulations, and guidelines.

I appreciate your continued interest in this important public health issue and look forward to meeting with you to discuss these and other areas of interest.

Julie Louise Gerberding, MD, MPH
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Thursday, June 12, 2003


[The following was emailed to Sullivan at]

Hey Andrew:

You've made a minor mistake in your item today on recent HIV stats and number of HIV antibody administered by the Department of Public Health.

You wrote: "In April of this year, there wasn't a single case of recent HIV infection found in city HIV testing sites, out of 843 tests."

However, as I wrote in my blog entry about this matter, which called attention to a new HIV/STD report for the city, "the new monthly sexually transmitted disease report from the San Francisco Department of Public Health was released two weeks ago and it shows that for the month of April, out of 183 HIV antibody tests performed, not a single recent HIV infection was detected. [1]"

There were only 183 HIV antibody tests performed in April, not the 843 figure you cite. You've taken the number of HIV antibody tests for the first four months of this year and said it's the figure for tests given in April. It isn't, and I hope you'll make the necessary correction on your blog.

In any case, the central matter, that there were no recent HIV infections detected in San Francisco during April, still stands.




Dear Friends:

When you have yours truly, a proud Nader voter in 2000 and a Birkenstock-wearing antiwar queer radical, and Andrew Sullivan, a Bush supporter who backed the Iraqi war, agreeing on something as important as questions about current HIV stats in San Francisco, it says a lot about how we can put aside differences to examine Department of Public Health allegations about HIV rates surging here.

My thanks go out to Andrew for calling attention to the zero recent HIV infections recorded in April at the city's STD clinic, where the bulk of HIV antibody tests are conducted, after reading an email from me about the lack of recent HIV infections detected by DPH.

So when are reporters, especially the ones who didn't believe the outrageous claims by DPH HIV epidemiologists back in 2000 that San Francisco was experiencing sub-Saharan levels of new HIV transmissions, going to revisit the issue of HIV stats here? How much evidence do reporters need before they pay attention to the fact that a queer radical and a gay conservative are saying the same thing about HIV stats in San Francisco?

I can't fathom why the press is seemingly unwilling to look at HIV in San Francisco and inform readers if the stats are surging, dramatically dropping or remaining stable.

It's also beyond my comprehension why HIV prevention groups, the DPH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention haven't said a word about the good news: Zero recent HIV infections documented in San Francisco during June. Maybe the last thing these entities want is to provide the gay community and general public with any positive development about HIV numbers here.

The AIDS industry, particularly the San Francisco division, should be ashamed about their silence regarding the mounting evidence that HIV rates in Gay Mecca are _not_ on the upswing.

- - -

June 13, 2003

HIV IN SAN FRANCISCO: You may recall the hysterical headlines of a couple of years ago about a surge in new HIV infections among gay men in San Francisco. Here's a reminder of the rhetoric used from the San Francisco Chronicle:

San Francisco's long-feared and often predicted new wave of HIV infection is here. After years of stability - wrought by strong prevention programs, a safer-sex ethic and powerful drugs - city health experts now estimate that the number of new infections by the virus that causes AIDS nearly doubled, to 900, in the past year. "This is a harbinger of what is going to happen all over the country," warned Tom Coates, director of the University of California at San Francisco AIDS Research Institute. "What happens in the HIV epidemic usually happens here first."

I was skeptical of the data and was pilloried by the usual suspects for being so. So was veteran AIDS activist Michael Petrelis. So it's worth taking another look at what the stats now show. In April of this year, there wasn't a single case of recent HIV infection found in city HIV testing sites, out of 843 tests. That was also true in February, March and June 2002. Total HIV infections seem completely stable from the data. There is, in fact, no evidence whatsoever of a surge in HIV infection rates among gay men in San Francisco. None. Rates of gonorrhea have actually fallen. Rectal gonorrhea, a key correlate of HIV infection, is also stable. The stories were bogus. But they haven't been refuted.
- 12:17:24 AM


Dear Mike:

It was good to chat with you on the phone last month about the apparent plagiarism by former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair of a Wall Street Journal AIDS article from 1996.

I’m writing you today to follow up on my pitch to you about what I think is a crucial need for the Journal to publish a story about current HIV statistics in San Francisco.

First of all, the new monthly sexually transmitted disease report from the San Francisco Department of Public Health was released two weeks ago and it shows that for the month of April, out of 183 HIV antibody tests performed, not a single recent HIV infection was detected. [1]

As you may know, the DPH contends there are an estimated 1100 new HIV infections occurring annually in San Francisco, so it is reasonable to expect that there should be approximately 91 new recent HIV infections per month in the city.

However, in all of 2002 there were only 31 recent HIV infections recorded, a figure which hardly approaches the 1100 number projected by DPH. [2]

Three years after an HIV epidemiologist for the DPH told the San Francisco Chronicle that the city was experiencing sub-Saharan levels of new transmissions, generating voluminous news stories around the world over the alleged HIV infection rate here, data to back up such a claim is scarce. [3]

So where is America’s AIDS model city at in terms of new HIV infections and verifiable proof for the HIV rate? Is the rate going up, on a downward slope or remarkably stable?

How can San Francisco, which is supposedly in the throes of new HIV transmissions on a par with the African continent, have even one month in which no recent HIV infections are discovered?

The lack of a single recent HIV infection during April is the latest example, in my opinion, of how the city may not be experiencing either sub-Saharan levels of new infections or any where near the alleged 1100 annual new HIV transmissions. The 2002 year-end STD report for the city reveals that for the last two years, less than one hundred HIV antibody test results were positive. [4]

And, it is highly likely that a sizable number of those positive test results were among repeat testers, thereby driving down the annual figures for HIV positive test results.

If you examine the monthly STD reports during last year, you’ll find that during February, March and June of 2002, there were zero recent HIV infections recorded in those three months. [5, 6, 7]

Additionally, for every month last year when recent HIV infections were documented, the number of recent infections was in the low single-digits.

The following question must be asked: How can San Francisco health officials claim surging HIV rates, when the number of HIV positive test results for two years in a row is below 100 per year, and recent HIV infections documented on a monthly basis never climbs into the double-digits?

I ask this as questions have been in raised in my circle of friends about the alarm sounded by the DPH regarding a new strain of a drug resistant staph infection, and a June 5 story appeared in the Bay Area Reporter casting legitimate doubt on the claims and numbers of DPH authorities.

“Just how prevalent the staph infections have been is difficult to gauge. In January, one doctor said he suspected as many as 300 gay men in San Francisco had developed the troublesome staph. Health officials could not verify the number and have yet to produce any credible data on the actual number of cases,” the B.A.R. reported.

The head of DPH, Dr. Mitch Katz, told the B.A.R.: “I haven’t seen that data. Because most of these infections are not going to get reported, there will never be very good data on it.”

That comment, frankly, raises troubling concerns not just about how DPH determined there was an outbreak of epidemic proportions of the new staph infection besetting the gay male community, but it also calls into question the ability of DPH to prove its HIV rate, and that is it indeed exploding on a level akin to that seen in some African countries.

Of all the newspapers in the world devoted to accurately reporting and verifying numbers and statistics, the Journal stands alone.

Having said that, I hope you and the Journal investigate and report on the current status of HIV statistics for San Francisco.

Michael Petrelis
PH: 415-621-6267


Thursday, June 05, 2003


The latest IRS 990 forms for both the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and its subsidiary nonprofit, the Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation, were released last week and I’ve gone over them and excerpted revenue and salary information to share with you. Unfortunately, the new IRS 990 forms for the foundations are not available on the web. Copies of the forms can be obtained from the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Frankly, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that executive salaries at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation rose again. The avarice of the people running the foundation knows no limits.

However, what I do find shocking is that the foundation’s Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation pays its director, Dr. Eric Goosby, a former administrator for HIV/AIDS programs under Donna Shalala when she headed the Department of Health and Human Services, a cool quarter of a million dollars. How the executive director of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation allowed anyone associated with her two AIDS nonprofits to earn substantially more than her amazes me.

Direct services for people living with HIV and AIDS are facing budget shortfalls, but don’t expect the greedy executives at these two nonprofit foundations to cut back on their excessive salaries because their priorities have always been executives first, patients last.

Keep in mind, as you read these salary levels, that the Wall Street Journal on July 9, 2002, reported that the head of the global AIDS fund, “Dr. [Richard] Feachem also startled some UN officials with his salary package of at least $200,000 a year.”

Imagine how those UN authorities would react if they knew how much the executives of Pat Christen’s two AIDS foundations were making.

I hope I live to see the day when the salaries of AIDS executives are cut and the savings passed along to AIDS patients.

Without further ado, here are the numbers. Read ‘em and weep.
- - -

San Francisco AIDS Foundation
IRS 990 form for FY 2001

Total revenue: $22,677,609

Pat Christen, executive director

Lance Henderson, finance director

David Taylor, human resources director

John Vasconcellos, development director

Brian Byrnes, programs director

Susan Haikalis, director of client services

Subtotal: $921,879

Contributions to employee benefit plans:
$14,959, for each of the six directors.

Subtotal: $89,754

Total: $1,011,633

Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation
(An affiliate of the SF AIDS Foundation)
IRS 990 form for FY 2001

Total revenue: $5,923,598

Dr. Eric Goosby, chief executive officer

Goosby also received payment for program design services, and that amount was:

Subtotal for Goosby: $250,012

Barbara Lawson, project director

Rene Durazzo, international programs director

Deborah Von Zinkernagel, program design

Dr. Allen Ronald, program services

Dr. Merle Sande, program services

Paul Bouey, program design

Subtotal: $962,389

Plus, the top three directors each received $17,277 in contributions to employee benefit plans, for a subtotal of: $51,831

Total: $1,014,220