L.A. NOW

Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Porn production will continue despite closure of heath clinic, industry spokeswoman says

December 9, 2010 |  2:57 pm

Aim_closed The San Fernando Valley-based porn industry will continue filming despite the shutdown Thursday of a health clinic that serves adult film performers, according to a porn industry spokeswoman.

Los Angeles County health officials served a cease and desist order on the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation in Sherman Oaks after state health officials denied the clinic's license application this week.

Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, a Canoga Park-based porn trade association, said it was her understanding that the clinic will continue to maintain a key database used by porn producers to check whether performers have tested negative for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

VIDEO: Watch The Times' interview with HIV-positive porn performer Derrick Burts

Duke said performers will be tested using "satellite blood draw services."

“Apparently the big difference is that the main AIM clinic cannot be utilized. Therefore, I do not believe that their will be any impairment of production activities,” said Duke.

State regulators said the AIM license application was denied due to “business-related issues” involving requirements for licensure.

For example, the clinic was required to have an agreement with a hospital they could transfer patients to as needed, and that agreement was not in place, according to Al Lundeen, a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health.

“AIM has been working on that,” Lundeen said, noting that AIM officials had been in contact with his office Thursday and provided additional information required for their license application to be approved.

“AIM is responding to the health authorities to get the information needed to complete its application,” he said.

Lundeen said it was unclear how soon AIM could submit a new application for approval.

“We’re open to continuing to work with them,” he said, but for AIM patients, “In the immediate future, they will need to seek services somewhere else.”

The nonprofit AIM clinic opened in 1998. County public health officials did not become aware that it was operating without a license until April. In May, they sent clinic officials a letter advising them that as a nonprofit, they could not operate under an affiliated physician’s license and needed to apply instead for a clinic license.

Lundeen said state officials were only alerted to the fact that the clinic was unlicensed shortly before AIM officials applied for a license June 7.

AIM's general manager Jennifer Miller, did not return phone calls from The Times on Thursday seeking comment.

She told AVN, which covers the adult video industry, that she had only been recently informed of the health department's decision and would be contacting authorities immediately to get the situation "straightened out." According to the AVN report, Miller said the denial of AIM’s application may have been on procedural rather than substantive grounds. She said that AIM would be issuing a statement late Thursday.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein renewed his demand Thursday for all porn producers to require performers to use condoms, and for public health authorities to shut down productions that do not.

“While L.A. County finally doing something by closing AIM is a good thing, we’ll see if they have the backbone to shut down productions,” Weinstein said. “We can’t go back to ignoring and treating these performers as disposable.”

Steve Hirsch, founder and co-chairman of Studio- City-based Vivid Entertainment, has spoken out against efforts to require condom use in porn, and issued a statement Thursday saying he had faith in AIM and its testing system.

"We have been in contact with AIM and believe that the current situation is temporary and will be quickly remedied,” Hirsch said. “There are other alternatives that we can utilize in the meantime and will do so. We believe the current system of testing works. Our productions will proceed as scheduled."

RELATED:

Porn industry health clinic shut down by L.A. County health officials

Clinic disputes Derrick Burts' claims that it failed to help him after he tested HIV-positive

Derrick Burts, HIV-positive porn actor: 'How many more times does this have to happen?'

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Pedestrians are reflected in the front door of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation that was shut down by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials in Sherman Oaks on Thursday on December 7, 2010.  The facility serves members of the porn industry. Credit: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.

Comments 

Advertisement










Video