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U.S. News

California: Regulating the Porn Industry

March 22, 2010

In a unanimous vote Thursday, the six-member standards board of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health decided to create an advisory panel to consider doing more to regulate the state's pornography industry, including requiring condom use and STD tests.

The vote came in response to a petition filed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Since 2004, when an HIV outbreak rocked the industry, AHF has been advocating for increased protections for porn performers. Its president, Michael Weinstein, called the board's decision a "big step forward."

The board should mandate condom use and require the industry to pay for performers' STD tests, testified Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, director of communicable disease control and prevention for the Los Angeles County Department of Health. As many as one-quarter of porn actors are diagnosed with an STD in any given year, he said, and rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia are seven times higher among adult-film performers than among the general population.

Board member Jonathan Frisch, who is principal risk manager at PG&E Corp., acknowledged that some people are uncomfortable with the topic of pornography but said it is "extremely interesting to hear from members of the industry. It's going to be very, very important that we do have them at the table."

Former porn actor Darren James, who tested HIV-positive during the 2004 outbreak, said the industry's current STD testing policy creates a false "security blanket." "You think you're safe, but you're not," he said.

Countering James' opinion was Angelina Armani, who said she had appeared in many adult films in the past two years, undergone regular testing, and never contracted a disease.

The Free Speech Coalition, an adult-entertainment trade group, will support the new panel provided it includes industry representation, said Diane Duke, its executive director.

Back to other news for March 2010

Adapted from:
Los Angeles Times
03.19.2010; Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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