Adult Film Industry, L.A. County Health Officials Testify at Public Hearing on Possible Regulations After HIV Outbreak
Public health and adult film industry officials on Friday testified at a four-hour California Assembly Labor and Employment Committee hearing on proposed regulations for the adult film industry, following a recent HIV outbreak among pornographic film actors, the Los Angeles Times reports (Liu, Los Angeles Times, 6/5). Five adult film actors in April and May tested HIV-positive, and four of the cases have been linked. Following the detection of the first two cases, 53 workers who may have had unprotected sex with one of the actors or one of their onscreen partners agreed to a voluntary work quarantine. About 12 companies agreed to a 60-day production moratorium until HIV testing of the actors was completed, according to industry experts (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/13). No new cases have been reported since then, and industry officials say the outbreak has been contained, according to the Los Angeles Daily News (Anderson, Los Angeles Daily News, 6/5). Assembly member Paul Koretz (D) scheduled the hearing after the Assembly's Health Committee last month set aside for further study a bill that would have required adult film actors to undergo routine HIV testing and wear condoms during sex scenes. Koretz plans to use testimony from the hearings to propose regulations for the industry, the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 6/5).
At the hearing, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Public Health Director Jonathan Fielding said that the state Legislature should pass bills that require condom usage, hepatitis B vaccinations for all performers, routine sexually transmitted disease testing and STD educational videos for performers. "Just as we would not allow a construction worker to be on a job site without a hard hat, we should not allow adult film workers to work without condoms," Fielding said. Peter Kerndt, director of the STD program at the county health department, said that the industry should consider the use of special effects, including flesh tone condoms, lighting and camera angles in order to "protect the worker while maintaining the market value of the films" (Los Angeles Daily News, 6/5). However, some industry executives and actors warned that increased regulation would drive production out of California. Adult film actress Nina Hartley said that a mandatory condom use policy would be "unenforceable" and performers who wish to use condoms can turn down films requiring unprotected sex. Producer Adam Glasser of Showtime's reality show "Family Business" said that the threat of companies leaving the state is not as real as industry observers believe, adding, "The number one priority should be the safety of the people who are working" (Los Angeles Times, 6/5).