Mandating Condoms?

Reuters is reporting that the porn industry has temporarily halted filming because a performer has tested positive for the H.I.V. virus. As the wire service notes:

The temporary moratorium recommended by the Los Angeles-based Free Speech Coalition comes as public health advocates escalated calls for greater enforcement of laws requiring porn stars to wear condoms on the set.

The Free Speech Coalition said it learned on Saturday that a porn film performer who has not been publicly identified had initially tested positive for HIV. It called for an industrywide moratorium on Sunday.

Reuters adds:

California law and federal workplace safety rules require the use of condoms for porn stars exchanging bodily fluids through sex, but the industry has largely ignored those mandates, Chase said.

Porn companies have resisted efforts to compel condom usage by arguing it would force productions to go underground or outside the United States, increasing health risks.

The porn industry continues to operate in a legal gray zone, Chase said. "When you've got a situation like that, you've got a lot of industry participants who feel they don't need to follow the law," he said.

Until recently, many porn performers had been regularly tested for HIV at a private clinic in Los Angeles run by a private outfit called AIM Medical Associates. But the clinic closed in May as it filed for bankruptcy and dealt with lawsuits against it.

Since the closure, the Free Speech Coalition has developed a health and safety program to take its place, and it was in the process of signing up performers, producers and agents to participate, the trade group said.

Earlier this year, members of the Los Angeles city council called for new rules mandating the use of condoms in porn productions. Porn producers counter that enforcing a condom mandate would reduce their sales and encourage them to move their operations - which bring in about $13 billion annually - to other states or out of the country. 

How big a problem is H.I.V. among porn actors? Competitive Enterprise Institute policy analyst Michelle Minton crunches some numbers over at the OpenMarket blog: 

The rate of HIV infection among the general population from my unscientific analysis, is roughly comparable, if not greater — than it is among the licensed adult film actors working in California. According to CDC data from 2009 (the most recent available) there were 48,100 new cases. If there are 305 million people living in the US, that means that about 0.0016 percent of the popoulation contracted HIV in 2009. While the numbers for adult film actors are tougher to nail down, we can use the data provided by the Adult Industry Medical Center (AIM), which serviced most of the licensed adult actors in the L.A. area and was required by law to report any positive cases of HIV to the to L.A. County Health Department within seven days.

According to AIM’s reports, there have been only a handful of HIV infections in the adult entertainment community in the last decade. In the first five years AIM operated, there wasn’t a single case of HIV infection among LA area porn actors until 2004 when porn actor Darren James contracted HIV and spread it to four other actors. It was six years until another incidence of HIV in the porn industry would become public – one actor tested positive.

Add that to this latest case and there have only been around seven cases of porn actors contracting HIV in more than a decade; an average of less than one person a year. This means that the rate of HIV infection among the LA porn population is somewhere around 0.0007% of the population versus the general population’s 0.0016%.

These actors are adults. If they decide to work without donning a French letter, then that should be their choice. But what if porn producers refuse to hire actors who insist on wearing English raincoats? That should be their choice too. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Joe M||

    Come on, Ron, you've got to have some kind of disclosure for this article.

  • ||

    JM: I have nothing to disclose that wouldn't be TMI.

  • jtuf||

    Speaking of disclosing porn investments, did you guys read the Russian Today post about Rick Perry's porn investments?

    http://rt.com/usa/news/rick-perry-porn-movie/

  • rts||

    Yeah... I saw the headline, then the byline, and was looking forward to a great confession"disclosure" at the end.

    Sadly disappointed.

  • Terry Michael||

    For those of us who for years have studied the mysterious "HIV" and the amorphous syndrome "AIDS" with intensity, the primary thing we need to disclose is that HIV=AIDS is the biggest fraud in medical history. To see a summary of why, go here:
    http://www.terrymichael.net/Ht.....eport.html
    (And please, save me the ad hominem attacks. I've heard them all--denialist, flat-earther, etc. Read and learn.)

  • cynical||

    TC;DR.

  • Turnkey||

    LOL right.

    On the side of infections - the main issue I've seen is that AIM is incompetent. I.e. some producers require tests from more legit providers (actual medical facilities) due to AIM's half-assed test that only covers AIDs and gonorrhoea anyway.

  • ||

    This is why the porn industry is starting to outsource to Eastern Europe and Russia.

    Who says regulations aren't job killers?

  • kinnath||

    One article I read said the infection probably occurred during a shoot in Florida. The porn industry says that if LA cracks down, more business will shift to states like Florida (with less regulation), and infection rates will probably climb.

    So yeah, regulation produces the exact opposite result that the regulators are trying to produce.

  • sarcasmic||

    Since when did regulators care about results?
    Intentions are all that matters.

  • Warty||

    Ah, Czech whores. They're much better than our boring American whores.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You have got to be joking.

  • Warty||

    Are you joking? Some of the best pornwhores are Czech.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I dare you to provide an example of a Czech porn actor (male or female) that isn't ghostly pale, skeleton-thin, and addicted to meth.

  • ||

    Just watch the Sperm-Swap series, n00b.

  • Warty||

    Silvia Saint. If we're counting Slovaks (because who knows the fucking difference, anyway), Kyla Cole and Angel Dark.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Alright, Kyla Cole's not too bad.

  • sarcasmic||

    You have a problem with that because...?

  • anon||

    Kasia

  • wingnutx||

    The czech is in the male!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Bulgarian girls. Unfortunately, my new workplace means I cannot provide (or even look at) any suitable links...

  • Imaginary Friend||

    You don't work for the SEC?

  • ||

    Viv Thomas. That is all.

  • Warty||

    I agree. My girl is a fan too.

  • ||

    Knob killers?

  • rts||

    Cock blockers.

  • ||

    Penis softeners.

  • Warty||

    By the way, SugarFree, how did you fail to link to this lovely item on Jezebel?

    NSFW NSFW NSFW NSFWNSNWNFSNWNFSNESNGF AGHHH MY EYES

    Bonus: the discussion devolves into how evil Canadian conservatives are.

  • ||

    I hadn't seen it until now. There's no going back, is there?

  • ||

    Thank Jeebus I'm at work and cannot look.

  • ||

    Balls in a thong to make them look like a giant labial camel toe. With the scrotum "lips" exposed.

  • ||

    Pictures and links may break my mind but words can never hurt me.

  • Imaginary Friend||

    Scrotum "lips"? I don't understand and I'm not tottaly sure I want to understand.

  • ||

    Go to the website that sells them if you can. It's a whole other world. It seems there is a fetish for making your dick look smaller/nonexistent.

  • Warty||

    "If you have not tried one of the designs that incorporates the Ass Spark, you have no idea what you are missing"

  • ||

    I mean, for gay fetish wear I only expected the anal plug stuff. What really freaked me out was the one that forces the balls up into the body. (Wow, this is so not what people came to the porn thread to read about. Sorry guys. As in all things, I blame Warty.)

  • ||

    "The Re-ascended Testicle" a one-act play.

  • Abdul||

    One act for Lance Armstrong maybe.

  • Warty||

    The ones that are nothing but a bonerpouch with attached buttplug shocked me a little. Is this what those delightful gays wear on vacation?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Actually, MOST gay guys just wear boxer briefs.

    You know, just like me and you.

  • ||

    It seems there is a fetish for making your dick look smaller/nonexistent.

    "He requests this?!?"

  • ||

    I don't even know what's going on in this picture...

  • ||

    Man, I linked to that shit in the morning links yesterday. Regretsy was on it first.

  • Warty||

    I'm glad I didn't notice, but I wish I had continued not to notice. MY EYES

  • Joe M||

    I wholeheartedly approve of Eastern European women.

  • Imaginary Friend||

    Who doesn't?

  • Invisible Condom||

    licensed adult film actors

    No wonder porn has become boring.

  • ||

    College Professor Wanted for Dealing Meth, Leading Biker Gang

    http://gawker.com/5836856/coll.....biker-gang

  • ||

    With a beard like that, meth is really the only logical accessory.

  • Warty||

    Speaking of, Nick Olivieri is going to jail for a while after having a standoff with the cops. Guess what drugs they found in his house.

  • Pip||

    "According to US gossip site TMZ.com, the bassist has been charged after officers searched his home and found quantities of cocaine and methamphetamines as well as a fully loaded rifle."

    What gave them the right to search his home?

  • anon||

    "Being American" is about all they seem to need now.

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...something serious must have happened to him because he shows up late, and rambles on about random and controversial topics. He lost his focus & passion for teaching.

    He found out he had cancer?

  • O2||

    breaking bad meets sons of anarchy

  • mr simple||

    What good is porn without the creampie or facial? They add a sense of completion, without which I'm left frustrated.

  • ||

    The whole idea of porn is to create your own "sense of completion" :)

    Seriously, though, these are valid concerns. Hopefully there'll be some subparagraphs dealing precisely with issues like moneyshots, bukkake, and Cincinnati Bow Ties.

    Without such loopholes, the industry will be brought to its knees.

  • rts||

    the industry will be brought to its knees.

    I see what you did there.

  • ||

    I like to keep it subtle where I can. I figured "the industry will really take it in the ass" was a bit over the top.

  • mr simple||

    Perhaps I was too subtle.

  • ||

    I would use condoms, but they always tear at the knuckle.

  • Restoras||

    Given the availability of free porn all over the intertoobz I'm shocked there still is a porn industry.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Given the high percentage of free pron that comes with rootkits, trojans (hurr), and other malware, I'm not.

  • ||

    So don't download porn. Just watch it.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    So don't download porn. Just watch it.

    Check your AppData folder sometime.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Or USE A FUCKING MAC.

  • ||

    Firefox + Noscript = win

  • ||

    Run firefox, use a script-blocker like No Script, go to fave online site, sit back and enjoy yourself.

  • ||

    I think Big Condom is inserting itself behind the scenes here.

  • ||

    You doubled your entendres there - and I like it.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    How accurate is that triple-o-seven figure for HIV among porn actors? The post says that pornographers evade the law; why would they take *all* their HIV cases to AIM Medical, if AIM had to report them all?

    And what did AIM Medical get sued for? Did they break some kind of law?

  • Chatroom Crackpot||

    One of the AIM suits was for leaking that an actor had tested positive.

  • anon||

    Oh sweet irony.

  • JD||

    The post says that pornographers evade the law; why would they take *all* their HIV cases to AIM Medical, if AIM had to report them all?

    They evade the law about wearing rubbers. As I understand it, the porn industry has a strictly-enforced policy that you can't work without a recent negative HIV test. Strangely enough, they adopted this policy without any governmental intervention whatsoever.

  • Mr Lizard||

    If the porn industry moves to Florida we'll see a uptick skanky chicks and affliction wearing D bags....and diseases yet to be seen by mortals.

  • ||

    Moves to Florida? I hate to break it to you, but Florida is huge in adult entertainment of all kinds.

  • Hank||

    Mons Venus FTW.

  • ||

    World famous.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Booyah!!

    First strip club ever.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Why would a man date condoms?

  • ||

    No, no, use a condom when man-dating, or you might get the aids.

  • Chatroom Crackpot||

    What is Lobster Girl's stance on condom usage?

  • Pip||

    I will bring her a note from my doctor. She, on the other hand, doesn't have to produce one.

  • ||

    Why did they stop exactly? Can't they just test the individual actors/actresses they are about to use right before they film?

  • ||

    Results take time to come back, and testing every day would be expensive.
    That's my guess.

  • ||

    Can't they contractually agree not to have relations with HIV-positive people outside work after testing until the end of filming? If I were the studio, I would add such a contractual clause to protect my own liability. That puts the responsibility back on the actors, who are the ones who would bring their outside diseases to work. If a film studio gets sued, they could at least sue the actor to reclaim something financially, and rightfully state that they did everything in their power to diminish the probability of such an event.

  • ||

    Also, let's have some Grauzone:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VchvrsjMrps

  • Warty||

    This is highly pleasant.

  • ||

    Yeah, it's got a good chugging groove.

  • free2booze||

    What about these actors responsibility to the community as role models? Millions of teen aged children are growing up, thinking that it's acceptable not to use protection each time they lure random women into the back of a van, and have a three way with double penetration.

  • Zuo||

    lol +1

  • ||

    "Engish Raincoat." Heh. Typos.

  • Warty||

    Oh yes, how silly of me.

    Harry Blackitt: Oh, yes, and, what's more, because we don't believe in all that Papist claptrap, we can take precautions.
    Mrs. Blackitt: What, you mean... lock the door?
    Harry Blackitt: No, no. I mean, because we are members of the Protestant Reformed Church, which successfully challenged the autocratic power of the Papacy in the mid-sixteenth century, we can wear little rubber devices to prevent issue.
    Mrs. Blackitt: What d'you mean?
    Harry Blackitt: I could, if I wanted, have sexual intercourse with you...
    Mrs. Blackitt: Oh, yes, Harry.
    Harry Blackitt: ...and, by wearing a rubber sheath over my old feller, I could insure... that, when I came off, you would not be impregnated.
    Mrs. Blackitt: Ooh.
    Harry Blackitt: That's what being a Protestant's all about. That's why it's the church for me. That's why it's the church for anyone who respects the individual and the individual's right to decide for him or herself. When Martin Luther nailed his protest up to the church door in fifteen-seventeen, he may not have realised the full significance of what he was doing, but four hundred years later, thanks to him, my dear, I can wear whatever I want on my John Thomas...
    [sniff]
    Harry Blackitt: ... and, Protestantism doesn't stop at the simple condom. Oh, no. I can wear French Ticklers if I want.
    Mrs. Blackitt: You what?
    Harry Blackitt: French Ticklers. Black Mambos. Crocodile Ribs. Sheaths that are designed not only to protect, but also to enhance the stimulation of sexual congress.
    Mrs. Blackitt: Have you got one?
    Harry Blackitt: Have I got one? Uh, well, no, but I can go down the road any time I want and walk into Harry's and hold my head up high and say in a loud, steady voice, 'Harry, I want you to sell me a condom. In fact, today, I think I'll have a French Tickler, for I am a Protestant.'
    Mrs. Blackitt: Well, why don't you?
    Harry Blackitt: But they - Well, they cannot, 'cause their church never made the great leap out of the Middle Ages and the domination of alien Episcopal supremacy.
  • Colin||

    Just from a consequentialist perspective this is stupid.

    It'll only affect big studios. Little ones, which are impossible to regulate, can be started with no more than a camera and hotel room (and, of course, some actors.)

    It'll probably even make things worse, as most of these little shops likely won't even care about testing.

  • ||

    I'm a bit torn. Part of me would rather the studios use condoms so that the actors could come back safe and sound. On the flip side, I'm also nervous about a government mandate. Ah well.

  • cynical||

    Law won't stick. Either intrudes on sexual rights or on speech rights, or both.

  • jtuf||

    Great post, Baily. I've just got one small complaint. Reason chose to show a naked male chest in the photograph but kept out the naked female chest. Sullum would call this sexist. I assume there was a woman in the picture who got deleted, because a solo man doesn't need a condom to stay safe. ;) Being solo is the safest form of sex.

  • jtuf||

    OK. The shot of the bare chested woman in the Hempfest post makes up for this.

  • cynical||

    "I assume there was a woman in the picture who got deleted, because a solo man doesn't need a condom to stay safe."

    There's another dude just out of frame, but they would rather do something nice for you than Tony.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement