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Campaign to require porn actors to wear condoms gains ground

March 9, 2010 |  7:06 am

In response to pressure from AIDS Healthcare Foundation officials, state regulators are poised to consider amending state law to require condom use in adult film production. 

On Thursday, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health standards board is scheduled to consider a petition the foundation filed in December to change state law and require condom use and other safe sex protections for adult-film workers, including increased safety training and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

Board staff and staff at the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health have recommended that the board create an advisory committee to consider amending the law “in order to give greater protection to employees in the adult film industry.” 

“The adult film industry has steadfastly refused to take any steps to protect its workers from diseases spread by blood borne pathogens, resulting in thousands of employees becoming infected with sexually transmitted diseases. Clarification and enhanced enforcement of the rules are called for,” wrote AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein.

Cal/OSHA spokespersons could not be reached for comment.

“This is absolute validation that more regulation of this industry is needed,” Weinstein said. “There’s been a lot of squeamishness about addressing porn. But this report says these are people in a workplace and we have an obligation to protect them.” 

The foundation, a Los Angeles-based advocacy group, has been pressuring regulators and the porn industry to better safeguard the health of adult-film performers since an HIV outbreak among Los Angeles-based performers in 2004, Weinstein said. 

Last summer, the foundation sued Los Angeles County after the disclosure that an adult-film performer had tested positive for HIV. In the suit, they alleged public health officials failed to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and to enforce laws requiring employers to protect workers against exposure to bodily fluids. 

The suit was later dismissed, but the foundation is appealing, Weinstein said. 

--Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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