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California Officials Write Letter Opposing Mandatory Condom Use in Adult Films

May 21, 2015

Scott Wiener

Scott Wiener

Mark Leno

Mark Leno

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener and California State Senator Mark Leno have written a joint letter to the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board regarding a proposed statute that would make condom use mandatory in all adult films being shot in California.

The proposed regulation covers all workplaces in which employees have "occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens due to one or more employees engaging in sexual activity with another individual," and pertains to "activities during the production of any film, video, multi-media or other recorded or live representation where one or more employees have occupational exposure." The regulation requires the employers, in this case porn production companies, to provide a physical barrier during the filming of pornographic scenes.

The letter asks state lawmakers to reject the proposed regulation, saying it will not reduce HIV infections and will hurt California's economy by forcing the adult film industry to move somewhere that will allow condomless porn to be filmed. The letter follows statements from several other California-based HIV advocacy organizations, such as the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and AIDS Project Los Angeles, and even New York's Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC).

The proposed addition to California's labor code comes three years after the passage of Los Angeles County's Measure B, which requires the use of condoms in all vaginal and anal sex scenes in porn films shot in Los Angeles County. Measure B had vehement opposition from those within the porn industry, as well as several political groups. Both the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Daily News wrote editorials in opposition to Measure B.

Wiener and Leno, both of whom represent San Francisco's historically gay Castro district, feel that the proposed regulation misunderstands HIV transmission and risk, and said in their statement, "HIV prevention is both a personal and professional passion for each of us." They asked the Board to look to other ways to fight HIV, including adopting some of San Francisco's prevention techniques, such as increased testing and HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

"Our approach recognizes the reality of people's sexual practices and tailors prevention to how people are actually living their lives," the officials said.

The officials also made an economic argument against the regulation, which they said will not actually change the adult film industry -- only force it to move to another state or go underground.

After the passage of Measure B, many porn production companies moved to Las Vegas, taking with them the $6 billion per year that the porn industry had generated for Los Angeles. Nearby Camarillo, California, had to put a 45-day moratorium on porn film permits after a dramatic uptick in the amount of permit requests.

In forcing porn to go underground, the officials warn that the proposed regulation may achieve the opposite of its intended effect -- more HIV infections.

Mathew Rodriguez is the community editor for and You can follow him on Twitter at @mathewrodriguez, like his Facebook page or visit him on his personal website.

Copyright © 2015 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

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