Los Angeles Clinic for Actors in Pornography Films Works to Combat Spread of HIV, STDs
After an "outbreak" of HIV among actors in pornography films three years ago, the Adult Industry Medical HealthCare Foundation was established to provide screening and medical services to actors in the pornography industry in an effort to stem the spread of AIDS and other STDs, the Los Angeles Times reports. Since its inception, AIM has become the "leading clinic nationwide" to cater to adult entertainers in the multibillion-dollar industry, and has identified 11 cases of HIV among actors "who might otherwise have gone undiagnosed and exposed the virus to dozens, if not hundreds." These actors are often paid higher amounts to have sex without using condoms and may have dozens of sexual partners "in a matter of weeks." AIM founder and former porn actor Sharon Mitchell explained, "We talk about sex in great detail, and in a nonjudgmental manner. We don't deal with shame." The clinic treats 400 to 500 actors per month, as most employers require actors to provide blood and urine samples for HIV and STD testing. Any positive results are reported to the actors and their on-screen partners, and are tracked in the industry's STD database. Peter Kerndt, director of the STD program for the county health department, which does some of the lab work for AIM, said, "The risk is certainly not zero. But AIM is providing an important service to high-risk professionals vulnerable to STDs. Having an advocate for their health is important." However, critics say that "by embracing the porn lifestyle [the clinic] actually promotes unsafe sex" (Sauerwein, Los Angeles Times, 5/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.