(NEW YORK) -- A study on gay men's penis size and sexual health made headlines this week -- not because of its findings but rather its funding source: taxpayers.
The study, which linked penis size to sexual position preference as well as physical and psychological well-being, was published in the June 2010 issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior. But more than a year later, the Traditional Values Coalition, The Daily Caller and Fox News condemned the study as a frivolous use of taxpayer money.
"We've got nameless, faceless bureaucrats who thought this was a good use of taxpayer money," Andrea Lafferty, president of the Traditional Values Coalition, told the Daily Caller. "But, at the end of the day, it was the NIH [National Institutes of Health] directors who signed off on it. These nameless, faceless bureacrats [sic] seem to think the American taxpayers are a limitless ATM machine."
The NIH maintains it did not directly fund the study, nor did it approve the research. It did, however, provide a training grant for research into AIDS and HIV prevention for the study's lead author, Christian Grov.
"This study was funded by the Hunter College Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training," a spokeswoman for the NIH told ABC News in an email. "Dr. Christian Grov was supported as a postdoctoral research fellow at the time the research was conducted by a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded training grant, which focuses on preparing behavioral scientists, especially racial/ethnic minorities, to conduct research in the areas of drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, and crime. These funds can only be used to support expenses like stipends, tuition and fees. These funds cannot be used to support research projects."
The training grant supported Grov while he studied a range of sexual health issues among men who have sex with men -- a group that it is disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS.
Now an assistant professor of health and nutrition services at City University of New York's Brooklyn College, Grov defended his research, explaining that it has important implications for reducing HIV transmission.
"At the moment, the male latex condom is the best barrier to prevent transmitting HIV and [sexually transmitted infections]," he said. "The one-size-fits-all approach to condom distribution may not meet the needs of men who fall outside the range of the typical condom."
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