Los Angeles Times Magazine Examines HIV, STD Spread in ‘Unregulated’ Adult Film Industry
The Los Angeles Times Magazine on Sunday examined the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, among performers in California's "entirely legal and utterly unregulated" adult film industry. State regulators and political officials say that the general public is not worried about "protecting the porn stars themselves -- despite the enormous popularity of the films they produce." Currently, the only STD monitoring in the industry is a "form of modest self-regulation," including health tests "before performers go on camera," which is not required by all adult film studios. The regulation is "neither widespread nor tightly monitored," the Times Magazine reports. A few studios ask performers to bring a recent HIV test with them to work and to use condoms when performing, but several studios do not have any requirements. Robert Herrera, production chief for Simon Wolf Productions, an adult film studio in Chatsworth, Calif., said, "It's up to the talent to say (to other performers), 'Let me see your HIV test,' or 'Hey, I need a condom.' It'd be great to have everyone wear a condom and a good thing to force everyone to test for everything. But it's impossible to do that in this business." Although the extent of infection among adult film performers is unknown because no "regulatory medical agency" monitors the industry, the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation between October 2001 and March 2002 studied 483 people, primarily adult film workers, and found 40% were infected with at least one STD -- 17% tested positive for chlamydia, 13% tested positive for gonorrhea and 10% tested positive for hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Dr. Peter Kerndt, the Los Angeles County Health Department's STD control director, said the numbers are "clearly an indication of what's happening. We support AIM's effort, but we can't help them very much financially. Our budgets are tight, and there's no public outcry over this." California Labor Commissioner's Office staff lawyer David Gurley said, "Porn stars -- people think they're not worth the time. The public sees these people as disposable" (Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times Magazine, 1/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.