California Assembly Member in Letter to 185 Porn Producers, Publishers Details Recommended HIV Prevention Guidelines
California Assembly member Paul Koretz (D) in a letter sent Monday to 185 porn industry producers and publishers outlined 13 guidelines to prevent HIV transmission among adult entertainment models and performers, including requiring the use of condoms, the Los Angeles Times reports (Liu, Los Angeles Times, 8/20). Koretz's recommendations are in response to five adult film actors testing HIV-positive in April and May and four of the cases were found to be linked. Following the detection of the first two cases, more than 50 performers who were thought to have had unprotected sex with one of the HIV-positive 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, 8/19). In addition to requiring male condom use, the guidelines urge the use of female condoms and avoidance of ejaculation on mucosal surfaces, such as the eyes, mouth and nose, the Times reports. "I strongly encourage and fully expect the adult entertainment industry to require the use of condoms. Failure to do so is ... irresponsible and invites the legislature to exercise its authority to mandate more stringent actions," the letter said (Los Angeles Times, 8/20). 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 has said he and other lawmakers "won't be afraid to legislate if we have to" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/19).
"I don't think it's the place of the authorities to decide whether the (actors) are to use condoms or not," Lexington Steele, president of Mercenary Pictures, an adult film production company, said. Larry Flynt, an adult film producer and adult magazine publisher, said, "I appreciate what the assemblyman is doing. But I want to know: Who is going to put the condoms on the actors? Is [Koretz] going to come down here and do it himself?" Coates said, "Health care workers exposed to bodily fluids are required to wear goggles and gloves. ... Workers in this industry deserve protection. They're just like any other workers." Sharon Mitchell, executive director of the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, said, "There's an awful lot of denial in this industry. People use condoms more in their private life than in their professional life" (Los Angeles Times, 8/20).