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AIDS group to appeal court ruling on HIV transmission among porn actors

June 23, 2011 |  6:10 pm

A local AIDS group said it would appeal to the California Supreme Court a ruling rejecting its bid to order county authorities to take more aggressive action to prevent the spread of HIV on adult-film sets.

The California Court of Appeal last week affirmed a lower court's decision defending a county health officer's discretion in protecting public health. The AIDS group wants the county to, among other things, inspect film sets to ensure that actors are being protected from sexually transmitted diseases.

Adult film companies widely flout state rules that require performers to wear condoms on set, the group alleges.

The three judges on the appeal panel unanimously agreed that, "a court … cannot substitute its discretion for that of legislative or executive bodies in matters committed to the discretion of those branches."

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation had asked a judge in 2009 to compel local public health officials "to combat an acknowledged epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases stemming from production of hardcore pornography in Los Angeles County." The case was filed after a porn performer contracted HIV in 2009.

Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said the number of STD cases among adult-film performers is "an epidemic virtually ignored by the county Department of Public Health."

"County officials and porn producers should know we will not stop our efforts to protect the public health and will continue to fight the STD epidemic in the adult-film industry," Weinstein said in a statement.

Los Angeles County public health officials praised the court's decision. The agency released a statement that said: "The court recognized that the Department of Public Health acted in accordance with California law."

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, who heads the department, has ruled out more aggressive action, such as sending health officials to perform on-set inspections of porn productions.

RELATED:

Judge blocks Cal/OSHA request in agency's porn HIV investigation

L.A. County may shake up sexually transmitted diseases program

Investigation of HIV in porn industry hurt by 'limited cooperation' from filmmakers, report says

-- Rong-Gong Lin II

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