California: Judge Rejects Petition for Condoms in Porn

An AIDS Healthcare Foundation petition seeking court-ordered HIV/STD prevention interventions on pornographic-video production sets was dismissed on Tuesday. AHF wanted Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials to require condom use or other steps to prevent disease transmission during filming. County Superior Court Judge David P. Yaffe rejected the petition, citing the county's broad discretion in managing public health.

"We just hope the county will do the right thing without being compelled to do it by a court," said AHF President Michael Weinstein, vowing to appeal. "This is going to be a years-long battle and it's going to have its ups and downs, but we know in the end that public health is going to win."

AHF, which is presenting the issue as one involving workplace and employee safety, sued the county in July after a female adult-film performer was diagnosed with HIV.

Last week, AHF submitted a petition asking California's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to amend regulations to include adult-film production. AHF advocates requiring condom use or other methods, including simulated sex acts. If the rules are adopted, unprotected sex on sets would be banned. Currently, most videos produced by the local porn industry feature unprotected sex. The agency will review the petition and make its recommendation to the board early next year.

In response to state pressure, the local adult-film industry is proposing a voluntary system of precautions that would stop short of a condom requirement. The industry's Free Speech Coalition is circulating among producers and directors a 13-page document outlining safety suggestions. A final draft will be presented to state regulators and lawmakers.