California Assembly Member Calls on Adult Film Industry To Voluntarily Meet Guidelines To Prevent HIV Spread
California Assembly member Paul Koretz (D) on Tuesday called on the adult film industry to meet 13 guidelines to prevent the spread of HIV during film production, including condom use, the Los Angeles Daily News reports (Sheppard, Los Angeles Daily News, 8/17). Five adult film actors in April and May tested HIV-positive, and four of the cases were found to be linked. Following the detection of the first two cases, more than 50 performers 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 then agreed to a production moratorium until HIV testing of the actors was completed, according to industry experts (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/18). Koretz, who earlier this year helped shelve legislation requiring sexually transmitted disease testing for adult film actors, said that the guidelines -- which were developed by Dr. Thomas Coates, professor of infectious diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles -- are a "reasonable plan" and that there is an "excellent chance" that the adult film industry will implement them. However, Koretz said he "won't be afraid to legislate if we have to," according to the Daily News.
Adult film industry representatives said that film companies are "unlikely" to require all performers to use condoms, the Daily News reports. However, because of the threat of legislation, the representatives plan to discuss ways to "encourage" the companies to follow the guidelines, according to the Daily News. Sharon Mitchell, executive director of the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, said, "The reality of people using condoms for a lot of the things that are suggested here -- I don't know how quickly that's going to happen." She added that requiring condom use could result in the industry going "underground" and fewer performers receiving HIV tests. Mitchell said that following the recent HIV outbreak in the industry, the percentage of adult film actors who used condoms increased from 17% to 23%, according to the Daily News. In addition, the adult film industry made "significant changes" by testing performers for HIV every two weeks rather than every month and requiring performers to undergo vaccinations for some diseases such as hepatitis. Assembly member Tim Leslie (R), who sponsored the earlier shelved legislation that would have required STD testing, said he would support another bill mandating condom use if Koretz's guidelines are not implemented, according to the Daily News. "This may be the first time ever that a liberal Democrat has asked an industry -- any industry -- to voluntarily comply with safety standards," Leslie said, adding, "I believe Mr. Koretz is sincere and, if the industry does not act appropriately, he will do the right thing and introduce worker safety legislation" (Los Angeles Daily News, 8/17).