L.A. County Health Officials Send Letters Urging Condom Use To Prevent Spread of HIV to Adult Film Industry
Los Angeles County health officials last week in response to continued unsafe sex practices in the adult film industry sent 400 letters to producers and directors of adult films urging condom use during sex scenes to prevent the spread of HIV, the Los Angeles Times reports (Liu, Los Angeles Times, 10/8). Last month, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health's Cal/OSHA program at the California Department of Industrial Relations fined two Los Angeles-area adult film companies -- Evasive Angles and TTB Productions -- $30,560 each for allegedly allowing actors to perform unprotected sex. The citations came six months after an HIV outbreak in the pornographic film industry. Five adult film actors tested 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. Following the outbreak, several state legislators have suggested implementing measures that would require adult film companies to take certain steps to avoid HIV transmission among actors (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/20). Both Evasive Angles and TTB Productions have appealed the fines, according to the AP/San Jose Mercury News.
Letter Details, Possible Legislation
Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the county's Department of Health Services, said the agency does not have the authority to enforce condom use in the adult film industry, so it sent the letters as a "recommendation." The letter also suggests hepatitis A and B vaccinations for adult film actors. Currently, condom use in the adult film industry is voluntary, and approximately 17% of the region's adult film actors reported using condoms before the HIV outbreak earlier this year. Although condom use increased for a "short period" after the outbreak, it has since returned to approximately 17%, the AP/Mercury News reports. About 200 producers -- most in the San Fernando Valley -- make thousands of adult movies every year, and most involve unprotected sex because some producers say on-screen condom use "spoils the fantasy" for viewers, according to the AP/Mercury News. The state and local governments have been "frustrated" with the industry's "failure to take steps" to prevent the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, the AP/Mercury News reports. Therefore, some state lawmakers have "threatened" to propose legislation that would require condom use in the adult film industry, according the AP/Mercury News (AP/San Jose Mercury News, 10/8).