Los Angeles County Health Officials Urge California To ‘More Vigorously’ Enforce HIV, STD Testing in Adult-Film Industry
Los Angeles County health officials are urging California policymakers to "more vigorously" enforce testing for HIV and other STDs in the adult-film industry, the Los Angeles Times reports. The county Board of Supervisors ordered the health department to investigate the industry, and in a Feb. 27 report said that the industry "poses a health risk to its workers as well as a public health concern to the general population" because enforcement of health regulations is lacking (Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times, 3/13). Currently, the only STD monitoring in the industry is a "form of modest self-regulation," including health tests before actors go on camera, which is not required by all adult-film studios. The regulation is neither widespread nor tightly monitored. A few studios ask actors to bring a recent HIV test with them to work and to use condoms when performing, but several studios do not have any requirements. 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 that 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 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/14). The group tested another 353 women and 337 men between January 2002 and October 2002 and found 7.9% of the women and 6.8% of the men tested positive for chlamydia. In addition, 2.7% of the people tested positive for gonorrhea. No one tested positive for HIV during either testing period, the Times reports. Health officials are calling for the Board of Supervisors to "seek state regulations that would specifically require adult-film actors to use condoms and be tested for a variety of communicable diseases," including HIV and hepatitis. They also want the state to monitor if adult-film companies are following current and proposed requirements on health and safety and for the companies to document and track the test results of adult-film workers, the Time reports. County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke said, "We have to evaluate the (health) department's findings and come up with some policy decisions" (Los Angeles Times, 3/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.