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Porn actor's positive HIV test provokes new calls for condom use

August 30, 2011 |  8:13 am

Renewed calls for condom use after adult performer tests HIV positive

With porn production temporary halted in Los Angeles after an adult film performer tested HIV-positive, some healthcare advocates are renewing their call for mandatory condom use on film sets.

The Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation is trying to get a measure placed on the city's June 2012 ballot that would require adult film performers to use condoms for porn filmmakers to obtain L.A. city filming permits.

The group must submit a petition with at least 41,138 qualifying signatures by Dec. 23 to place the measure on the ballot. If they succeed, it will be the first time the issue — litigated and disputed during state regulatory meetings — would come before voters.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein said the latest HIV case shows why testing is not an adequate substitute for condoms. He called on Los Angeles city officials to pull all adult film permits until they can require performers to use condoms.

"How many performers must become infected with HIV and other serious STDs before the industry will clean up its act and government will do the right thing?" Weinstein said, adding that the latest reported infection shows an "outrageous disregard for the health and safety of performers and the community at large."

Officials at FilmL.A. Inc., the nonprofit office that issues the permits, said they could not suspend productions without city authorization. The City Council is in recess until Sept. 6.

The Free Speech Coalition, a Canoga Park-based porn industry trade group, said it became aware of the possible HIV case Saturday. Executive Director Diane Duke would not say how her group learned about the case and did not release the name, age or gender of the performer, citing medical privacy laws.

She said she notified adult film production companies Monday morning that a performer had tested positive and urged them to temporarily halt productions until further tests were completed.

Duke's group was notifying actors known to have performed with the potentially infected person so they could be tested, she said.

In California, adult film performers must be tested for sexually transmitted diseases every 30 days and show proof of a negative test before they perform, according to voluntary industry standards.

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-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Joining AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein, in tie, in support of requiring condoms in porn productions are, from left, former adult entertainment performers Jenni Case, Jan Merritt, Derrick Burts, Shelley Lubben and Darren James. Credit: Phil McCarten / Associated Press

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