Assembly Committee Chair Recommends Voluntary Practices for Adult Film Industry
The Southern California-based adult film industry should voluntarily adopt practices to prevent the spread of disease among adult film actors, Assembly Labor and Employment Committee Chair Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood) said Tuesday, the Los Angeles Daily News reports (Sheppard, Los Angeles Daily News, 8/17). In response to an HIV outbreak among adult film actors in April and May, Koretz scheduled a hearing in June to discuss possible regulations for the California adult film industry. In May, the Assembly Health Committee set aside for further study a bill (AB 2798) that would have required adult film actors to undergo routine HIV testing and wear condoms during sex scenes (California Healthline, 6/7).
Koretz has recommended 13 practices, including condom use and more frequent HIV testing, for the industry to implement. The recommendations were developed by Dr. Thomas Coates, professor of infectious diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles and a member of the UCLA AIDS Institute.
Koretz said, "We won't be afraid to legislate if we have to. But frankly, I think we've come up with a reasonable plan, and I think there's an excellent chance if the industry responds and implements it."
Assembly member Tim Leslie (R-Roseville), who sponsored AB 2798, said that if the voluntary plan does not work, Koretz should consider a mandatory approach. He added, "I believe Mr. Koretz is sincere, and if the industry does not act appropriately, he will do the right thing and introduce worker safety legislation."
Sharon Miller, executive director of the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, said, "The reality of people using condoms for a lot of things that are suggested here -- I don't know how quickly that's going to happen." She said that mandating some practices would exacerbate the problem by causing the adult film industry to operate underground, a move that could result in fewer adult film actors being tested for HIV and other STDs, the Daily News reports.
Miller said that since the outbreak, no new cases have arisen and condom use increased to about 23% of performers, although that number recently decreased to 17%, the level before the outbreak. However, she said that the industry made two large changes, including testing performers for HIV every two weeks instead of each month and requiring adult film actors to be vaccinated for hepatitis and tuberculosis (Los Angeles Daily News, 8/17).