Feds Spending Millions on ‘Gay Porn’ Website

Apr 22, 2012
Health, Safety & Testing
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The National Institutes of Health has spent millions of dollars over the past decade to fund the construction of an HIV-prevention website that, among other sexually explicit features, includes a graphic image of homosexual sex and a Space Invaders-style interactive game that uses a penis-shaped blaster to shoot down gay epithets.


The grant money went to a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota that created a site called Sexpulse. The goal was to draw in what are termed MISM — or “men who use the Internet to seek sex with men” — in order to educate them and ultimately reduce their risk of contracting HIV.

But the site used unorthodox methods to get subjects’ attention and keep them interested. The site includes pornographic images of homosexual sex as well as naked and scantily clad men. It includes several risquĂ© interactive features, like the Space Invaders-style arcade game.

The conservative Traditional Values Coalition, which flagged the government-backed research and described it as “gay porn,” complains the website and studies are a multimillion-dollar waste.

“We can’t spend money on this. America is broke,” coalition President Andrea Lafferty said. “People are losing their homes, they’re losing their jobs … and what we’re doing is we’re funding year after year these cockamamie grants by people at NIH.”

NIH records show the government started awarding grants to the Minnesota team beginning in 2001, renewing them almost every year since then. The 2012 grant was valued at more than $680,000; in total, NIH has awarded more than $5 million to the team. The researchers started developing the Sexpulse site in 2005 and continue to work on the project — the project leader told FoxNews.com that total funding through 2015 is expected to top $7 million.

The values coalition, which frequently complains about NIH spending, is drawing attention to the Sexpulse grants as Congress renews a heated debate over government waste in the wake of the General Services Administration scandal. In that case, an internal report found the agency spent more than $820,000 on a Las Vegas retreat.

“This is a lot more money,” Lafferty noted of the NIH funding.

The National Institute of Mental Health defended the research in a statement to FoxNews.com, citing the relatively high infection rates of HIV among the target audience.

“HIV prevention is an urgent priority in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The long-term objective of this research is to develop Internet-based interventions to lower sexual risk behavior among men who have sex with men (MSM),” the statement said. “MSM are the largest population infected with HIV in the United States — accounting for approximately half (48 percent) the people living with HIV in the United States, and more than half of new HIV infections (61 percent) each year. The intervention developed by this research team has already yielded positive results by demonstrating a 20 percent reduction in risk behavior in this population.”

Researchers who received the grants recruited thousands of test subjects through Gay.com. According to one publication on their experiment, they found “near universal acceptability for highly sexually explicit education.”

The idea was to create a different kind of sexual health education website — one that would lure in users and keep them on the site by appealing to their sexual appetites, and perhaps a sense of erotic whimsy.

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