A New York organization called Gay Men's Health Crisis did not use federal funds to produce the comic books on AIDS prevention that Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) charged promote "sodomy and the homosexual life style," according to an investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general.

Richard P. Kusserow, in a report to HHS Secretary Otis R. Bowen and Assistant Secretary Robert E. Windom, also said that the group has not used federal funds it received from the Centers for Disease Control for any "purposes other than those intended."

Helms, in a widely reported Senate speech Oct. 14, said that the New York group had received federal grants of nearly $680,000 from the CDC for "so-called AIDS education and information."

He said a series of comic books produced by the group called Safer Sex Comix "told the story in graphic detail of the sexual enounter of two homosexual men. The comic books do not encourage {any change in} . . . the perverted sexual behavior. In fact, the comic book promotes sodomy and the homosexual life style as an acceptable alternative in American society . . . under the pretense of AIDS education."

Helms said he had shown one book to President Reagan, who "looked at a couple of pages, closed it up and shook his head, and hit his desk with his fist."

Helms told the Senate that the organization claimed it did not use any of the federal funds for producing the comic books. But even aside from the comic books, he said, it appeared to him that it had used some of the funds for workshops on safe sex that included activities such as "asking someone for his phone number, meeting someone new at a bar and letting him know you are interested in having safe sex, and negotiating a contract for safe sex, discussing your sexual limits."

Other senators told Helms that the issue is not whether one approves of homosexuality but the best way to educate gay men to take steps to stop the spread of AIDS.

But Helms won, 94 to 2, passage of an appropriations amendment barring CDC funds from being used for anti-AIDS campaigns that "promote or encourage, directly or indirectly, homosexual activities."

Shortly afterward, Bowen notified White House domestic policy adviser Gary L. Bauer that he had ordered Kusserow to investigate whether the group had used federal funds improperly.

Kusserow, in his report, which has not been released, said the New York group had received grants of $680,279 and had spent $387,257. The principal purpose of the grants, he said, was "development of unique and innovative approaches for the prevention" of AIDS transmission "and the evaluation of the effectiveness of these approaches."

This included a study of the levels of knowledge of AIDS among gay men and others and attitudes "regarding exposure to AIDS" and "their attitudes toward life style changes which would reduce AIDS."

In addition, the Gay Men's Health Crisis was to set up a review panel to "insure that language and materials used were necessary for the targeted audience to understand the program messages without being offensive to most educated adults."

Kusserow said his office had audited the group's spending records and interviewed program officials and had concluded that six Safer Sex Comix books had been produced and distributed with funds from private donations and other non-federal sources. "Printing and distribution of the Safer Sex Comix were not charged to the CDC accounts," he wrote.

"Furthermore, nothing came to our attention that would lead use to conclude that CDC funds were used for purposes other than those intended by the agreement," he added.