Last updated on: 2/4/2009 | Author:

John Potterat Biography

Former Director of the STD/AIDS Programs for El Paso County Colorado
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should Prostitution Be Legal?"

“As a public health officer I have always maintained neutrality on the legalization issue. I see 3 scenarios: making prostitution illegal (the dominant response almost everywhere); de-criminalizing it (which I view as freedom without responsibility : ‘I can do my own thing and societal consequences be damned’); and reglementation (which gives society control over the rules of engagement and would presumably protect all parties and their interests --- including the IRS !). Outlawing prostitution is unrealistic and de-criminalization is irresponsible. Reglementation is realistic, but terribly unlikely to be adopted in America, given the dominant moral climate and professed values. Since legalization is likely to be argued in ideological space and since, therefore, positions will come more from the adrenal than from the cerebral cortex, I view neutrality as the most realistic option.”

Email to, May 9, 2007

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Consultant, STD/HIV epidemiology & control, 2001-present
  • President’s Award, Colorado Springs Osteopathic Foundation, 2002
  • Jack N. Spencer Award, Centers for Disease Control, 2002
  • Director, STD/AIDS Programs, El Paso County [Colorado] Department of Health & Environment, 1972-2001
  • Special Recognition Award, American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association, 2001
  • Member of the Year, Colorado Springs Osteopathic Foundation, 2001
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, Santa Monica High School, California, 2000
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Colorado Public Health Association, 2000
  • Hugo Beigel Award, The Journal of Sex Research, 1998
  • Dr. Nathan Davis Award, American Medical Association, 1993
  • Public Health Adviser, Centers for Disease Control Syphilis Eradication Program, Los Angeles County Health Department, 1968-1972
  • U.S. Army, 1965-1967
  • Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • BA, History, University of California at Los Angeles, 1965
  • None found
Quoted in:
  1. How Many Prostitutes Are in the United States and the Rest of the World?