HIV Prevention in Adult Film Industry Under Debate
A coalition of public, not-for-profit and academic health advocates in Los Angeles is failing to muster support from lawmakers to improve HIV safety standards in the adult film industry, MediaNews/Oakland Tribune reports.
An HIV outbreak in 2004 prompted adult film studios to require actors to use condoms during filming, but industry officials say almost all studios have returned to optional condom policies and rely on periodic health screenings.
Peter Kerndt, director of the sexually transmitted disease program at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said the Los Angeles-based AIDS Health Care Foundation and other members of a coalition have had difficulty finding a lawmaker to author legislation to adopt tougher standards.
John Schunhoff, chief deputy director of the county's public health department, said the board of supervisors and county health officials support safer standards but will not sponsor a bill.
He added that health officials may reconsider their opposition if there is an amended bill this session.
Kerndt said the new California Department of Public Health could tighten safety standards if petitioned by lawmakers.
However, Matt Gray, a lobbyist for the Free Speech Coalition, said lawmakers do not want to debate First Amendment and censorship issues.
Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles), chair of the Senate Health Committee, said there is little support for new legislation because health officials have been unwilling or unable to adopt new standards and HIV activists have not pushed the issue. Kuehl added that hundreds of other bill proposals compete for lawmakers' attention (Barrett, MediaNews/Oakland Tribune, 6/4).