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Mandatory use of condoms in porn filming to be taken up by state panel

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a64b9aa1970b-320wi

A state advisory panel exploring whether condoms should be mandatory in adult film production will meet Tuesday to discuss whether changes should be made to worker safety laws.

The hearing is the latest in a campaign by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and other advocacy groups to require condoms in porn filming -- an effort that has been underway since a 2004 HIV outbreak led to a one-month shutdown in the industry. In 2009, the groups renewed their campaign after an actress tested positive for HIV and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health disclosed that 22 adult film workers had tested positive at the San Fernando Valley-based Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation since 2004.

"It comes down to an issue of whether the testing is sufficient protection," said Michael Weinstein, president and chief executive of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "There's no argument being made that condoms aren't better."

The industry has long argued that it has built-in safeguards to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS: actors must take mandatory monthly HIV tests before they are cleared for filming. Requiring condoms, they believe, would force the industry underground or out of state.

In March, state regulators with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health's standards board unanimously voted to create an advisory committee to consider increasing regulation of California's porn industry. The board can adopt changes to the law without legislative approval.

The American Medical Assn. also weighed in at its annual meeting earlier this month, voting to support legislation to require porn actors to use condoms on-screen.

-- Kimi Yoshino

Credit: Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (6)

I think if condoms were present in more pornography, it might help people, especially men, who often refuse to wear them, associate them with fun. The porn industry needs to take responsibility for the message it sends regarding public health, especially in these times when many people have limited access to health care.

I think if condoms were present in more pornography, they would sell a lot less pornography - and this is why it will not happen (and everyone knows it)

Why don't they butt out.

Personally, I would like to see more condom use in porn for the reason of promoting condom use to its viewers. However, I object to regulating the industry under OSHA because of the anti-discrimination laws in CA.

In CA, a company is not allowed to discriminate against HIV-positive employees, is not allowed to not-hire an HIV-positive person, and is not allowed to inquire into their HIV status. For all non-sex-related businesses, I whole-heartedly support these anti-discrimination laws.

However, the porn industry SHOULD have the right to refuse to hire an HIV-positive actor, and SHOULD have the right to inquire into an actor's HIV status. This ability will be lost if the porn industry is to be included under the umbrella protection of OSHA in California.

What we need is more social pressure to emphasize condom use in porn, not legal regulation. Otherwise, we lose the incredibly beneficial safeguards currently in place. We should not be trading open testing practices for condom use, we should be encouraging the use of both, in conjunction with each other.

As consumers, if we purchase more porn that shows condom use, and boycott porn that doesn't, the industry will self-regulate in favor of more condom use because producers can make more money that way. As it stands now, the huge bareback market is what gives producers the motivation for filming bareback movies.

In most health-related issues, government regulation and/or regulation by a neutral organization are the protection we need from fraudulent or unsafe medical practices and claims. But in the porn industry, the Free Market system is a better system, with a little assistance from union-type organizations that protect the workers' rights, like AIM.

What works for the general public (OSHA protection) does not work for the porn industry because it necessarily involves and requires practices that would be considered discriminatory or "unfair" in other industries. In most cases, a person's HIV status should not impact a decision on whether or not they make a good employee because their work usually does not have anything to do with whether they will transmit HIV. In porn, it does, and is therefore relevant. The law is not written to accommodate whether things like HIV status is relevant to the work, it is a blanket rule protecting all HIV persons. As long as this blanket rule is in place, applying it to industries where they have exceptions that are keeping in the spirit of the rule, including an industry under this blanket rule is inherently unfair and more dangerous than leaving it exempt.

I will state again that I endorse the increase of condom use in the porn industry. But the way the current CA laws are written with regards to HIV discriminatory practices will actually put porn actors in MORE danger if the porn industry was to fall under OSHA regulations. Unless the law is changed to exempt porn businesses from the anti-HIV discrimination laws, OSHA regulation and mandatory condom use should not be supported, but social pressure to increase condom use should be.

With positive HIV cases identified isn't it obvious that testing alone is not efficient nor sufficient.

Point #1: No one is saying there shouldn't be condom use. Some are saying that making it a legal mandate is problematic.

Point #2: Almost every case of HIV in a porn star since the beginning of AIM and their mandatory testing procedure has been a porn star getting HIV from a personal partner, not another co-worker. The testing procedures have been instrumental in quarantining and preventing the spread of HIV when a porn actor has unsafe sex outside of work. The testing procedures have saved thousands of lives. The HIV incident rate is actually lower in the AIM-compliant porn industry than it is for the general public.

Point #3: The vast majority of cases of HIV of people registered with AIM (which is where the numbers are coming from) are people who are inactive porn actors or people who want to become porn actors but have not yet worked in a film. The screening procedures keep them out of the business so they cannot infect other actors. Lots of people other than current, working actors utilize the AIM testing facilities, and it is from this other pool of people that the numbers are being taken by the media to frighten the public with how dangerous the porn industry is.

Once again, no one is saying they shouldn't use condoms in porn. Some people are saying that *legislation* of condom use will not solve the problem and will introduce more problems than it will solve. Putting social and economic pressure on the production companies to encourage condom use is a better method of increasing condom use in porn than legislating it, because the industry will then have higher condom use AND testing - not one or the other.


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