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Clinic used by porn actors is subject of federal probe

June 18, 2010 |  4:29 pm

Federal officials are investigating whether a clinic that tests adult film performers for sexually transmitted diseases violated their privacy by requiring them to sign overly broad disclosure agreements.

The Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation, a San Fernando-based clinic, is being investigated by the San Francisco regional civil rights office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to a federal spokesman.

The investigation was prompted by a complaint by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a Los Angeles-based group that has advocated for condom use and increased testing among porn performers. It was the first time the group had made such a request, said Tom Myers, the foundation’s general counsel since 1998.

The group previously complained to state and county officials about health safety lapses in the adult film industry. Earlier this year, they succeeded in persuading state health officials to form an advisory panel to consider added protections, including requiring performers to use condoms. The panel is scheduled to meet for the first time June 29.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation officials complained in February that the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation was violating patients’ privacy rights by requiring them to sign “an overbroad, irrevocable” consent to disclose their test results “to whomever AIM deems appropriate, in perpetuity” in order to be tested.

On Friday, Myers received a letter from federal officials saying they believed there was sufficient evidence of privacy violations to merit an investigation. 

“If some performers are OK with it, that’s fine,” Myers said of the disclosure agreements. “But not all performers are in that boat and under the law, to make the disclosure sufficient, the performers have to be provided with certain information,” including who is authorized to receive the test results, for what uses and until what date.

“Not all performers who are OK with it would be OK with it had the normal requirements of disclosure been complied with,” Myers said.

A federal investigator assigned to the case and Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation officials did not return phone calls or e-mails Friday afternoon.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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