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Clinic blasts calls for added oversight of porn industry

The announcement this week that an adult film performer tested positive for HIV prompted a San Fernando Valley clinic Wednesday to blast AIDS activists and public health officials for using the incident to renew calls for mandatory condom use and added oversight of the porn industry.

"The misfortune of a patient testing positive for HIV has been turned into a tragic farce by the efforts of groups to exploit the patient for their political and financial gain," the Sherman Oaks-based Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation said in a statement.

The clinic, known as AIM, noted in the statement that it is complying with all county, state and federal laws regarding both reporting the infection and protecting patient privacy.

"Under law, reporting to Los Angeles County HIV Epidemiology Program can only occur upon the return of a Western Blot test. That test was taken immediately upon the first indication of a potential infection, but the results take one week to return," the statement said.

Last year, an Alameda County Superior Court judge issued an injunction barring a request by state workplace safety officials for the work history of a performer who had tested HIV positive at AIM.

"Through the press, the state is making the same unlawful demands again, while knowing that the state is under a binding injunction barring it from demanding access to those kinds of records," the statement said.

The statement did not include any new information about the individual who tested HIV positive, except to say that, "It is impossible to know if the patient acquired the HIV virus from private conduct or on-camera activity."

AIM officials have so far refused to release the patient’s gender, the companies he or she worked for, when they received the positive test result or how many people have been quarantined as a result.

Karen Tynan, a lawyer for AIM, said the clinic cannot release such information by law because it might identify the individual.

"There’s a ton of curiosity," she said. "We just can’t breach patient confidentiality."

Tynan also declined to say how many individuals have been quarantined. The AIM quarantine means production companies are "placing a moratorium on filming any person one or two generations removed from sexual contact with the current patient," according to the statement, meaning both individuals who had sex with the person who tested positive and their partners.

"Upon completion of testing that cohort, in about ten days or two weeks, as well as highly sophisticated analyses of the genetic components of the infection, the nature of the exposure will be determined," the statement said.

AIM officials did not return calls. Meanwhile, more production companies announced they were temporarily shutting down production in light of the HIV scare.

Officials at Hustler Video and Digital Playground, two large production companies, both said they had halted production Wednesday. Hustler has put future shoots on hold, officials said.

"While we have suspended all future production plans in the short term, we will conclude our current shoot which will wrap within the week," Rob Smith, Hustler's video director of operations, said in a statement. "We have no plans to begin additional production until we get a better overview of the current situation."

Samantha Lewis, chief executive of Digital Playground, said the Van Nuys-based company also had canceled shoots "for the foreseeable future."

Officials from Vivid Entertainment and Wicked Pictures, two other large Valley-based production companies, said they suspended production Tuesday.

Wicked Pictures officials emphasized that although they require actors to use condoms, they postponed two productions as a precaution.

"How long they are postponed will be determined by the info that is released from AIM," said Steve Orenstein, the company’s president, noting that they "don't want to put any actor or actress in a position to work with someone that may prove to be on the quarantine list."

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Comments () | Archives (11)

If these "actors" are truly "employees", then they should be able to qualify for workman's comp. If they can't get workman's comp, than what are they? The feds, state and local governments need to stop pandering to the porn industry and get rid of it. Freedom of speech has responsibilities that go with it. Porn does not meet such criteria.

I work in a hospital laboratory where we handle surgical specimens and are constantly at risk of unknowingly being exposed to HIV, Hepatitis and other blood borne pathogens and also things like TB. We are required to wear full PPE (personal protective equipment) including aprons, eye protection, face masks etc and this is enforced by multiple regulatory agencies.

The fact that porn actors have unprotected sex and spray semen all over each others is extremely backwards and is an absurd thing to allow in a work environment.

Figures that one out of thousands of actors tested positive implying that HIV positive is prevalent throughout the industry. The same argument is made in maintaining cannabis prohibition. This is classic a straw man argument. Those in the porn industry are more regulated and responsible than the general population. To imply they are not is being disingenuous and that's being generous.

It is so disgusting to read about this industry and the people in it and then to realize that it only exists because it is hightly profitable. It is the same story with the current drug wars. None of this would be happening if we didn't create a market for this sickness. A hundred and fifty years ago it was slavery. I hope one day we can look at oursleves honestly one day and realize that anyone who consumes pornography or drugs has a direct hand in the violence and sickness that results from their uncontrolled appetites.

The set of a porn shoot is a workplace. The performers are engaging in sex in front of cameras in exchange for compensation. We have OSHA regulations for the exchange or exposure to bodily fluids in every other work setting except on the set of a porn movie.

I guess the "blast" from the mouthpiece of pornagraphers is the best defense. These greedy crooks have no shame. They will expose young, naive 20-year olds to a life shortening or ending disease before they will take reasonable precautions to require them to be protected.

To choose a fast buck over the health and safety of others is an immoral act. It must be made illegal immediately.

Thank God for a little reason amongst an industry run amock.

Do the operators of the AIM clinic remember the ActUP slogan, "Silence Equals Death"? Their strident insistence on secrecy and against mandatory condom usage, suggests a bias which is both unseemly and unethical in a healthcare provider. Like other employer funded health care providers, they are putting the employer's profit motive ahead of the patients'/employees' well being.

The industry only exists because of high DEMAND. Those in the industry wouldn't lower themselves to reply to you holier than thou moralists. HIV exists in MANY workplaces. Get used to the idea. Get yourselves tested because there is MUCH infidelity in the Moralist Circles.

so we don't know who it is because of confidentiality, but the producers know? how do we know where it contacted the hiv? osha has no jurisdiction over it's private life.so let's find out the facts first.

If you don't like porn, don't concern yourself with it. If something doesn't fit into a category of normalcy for you it does not mean that it's wrong or bad, it just means you're not into it, so please don't force your views on those of us that enjoy something that we like.

If Wicked is condom-only, then they don't really need to shut down production. The whole point of condoms is that they prevent HIV transmission. They should just (continue to) put safer sex practices on display. Maybe even use condoms for oral, the way doctors always tell us to do. For the safety of everyone, the negative stigma condoms have needs to be squelched; a test is not a condom.


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