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Porn makers challenged for not mandating condoms

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An AIDS advocacy group filed complaints Thursday with state officials against 16 production companies that show unprotected sex in porn movies.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed the action with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, alleging the practice amounts to unsafe behavior in a California workplace.

“We will not stop until there is a policy of requiring condoms to be used in porn,” foundation president Michael Weinstein said.

By law, U.S. adult film actors must prove they have tested negative for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases within 30 days of going to work on a film.

CalOSHA spokesman Dean Fryer said the regulatory agency requires workers in any industry where there is a “possibility of transmission of fluids,” including health care and adult films, to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

“The employers of porn actors are required to provide a safe and healthy work environment,” Fryer said.

Nearly 60 adult DVDs accompany the complaints against Hustler Video, Maverick Entertainment, Vivid and other porn production companies in Los Angeles. Many people in the multibillion-dollar industry oppose the use of condoms in the films.

Hustler publisher Larry Flynt told The Associated Press, “people who enjoy viewing adult films do not want to see people using condoms.”

“While it might provide some additional protection, the sales are not going to be there to make the effort worthwhile for the actors and actresses,” he said.

Flynt praised laws mandating monthly testing for adult film actors as a highly effective way to prevent the spread of AIDS.

Vivid Entertainment head Steven Hirsch agreed.

“If we didn’t think the proper testing was in place, we would do something about it,” he said.

A call to Maverick was not immediately returned.

Weinstein said AIDS could be spread through the on-camera behavior and noted that many people get their sex education from porn movies.

Watching unprotected sex could prompt them to be careless during sex acts, he said.

Former porn actress Jan Meza said she asked about the use of condoms when she first started appearing in adult films in 2006.

“I was told that I would never get work again,” said Meza, who later contracted herpes.

Meza stopped appearing in films in 2007 and went to work for a charity group that provides safe haven to performers who want to leave the industry.

The labor complaints are part of the AIDS advocacy group’s broader campaign to mandate the use of condoms in porn.

Last month, it filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, calling on officials to enforce health and safety rules on adult film sets to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

In June, CalOSHA inspectors paid a surprise visit to the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation in San Fernando Valley, a clinic where an adult film actress recently tested positive for HIV.

The inspection was part of a broader investigation into the clinic, which has reported 22 other HIV cases since 2004. At least five performers for Vivid Entertainment, tested positive for HIV that year, prompting a brief self-imposed moratorium on porn production.

Fryer said CalOSHA is awaiting a court ruling on an injunction sought by the American Civil Liberties Union to prevent the agency from accessing medical files at the clinic.

“Our elected officials and our government are treating the young people who are performing in these films as trash that don’t deserve protection,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein said no state legislators have agreed to sponsor the group’s proposal to mandate condoms in porn movies.

Hirsch said the adult film industry would likely leave California if the use of condoms became mandatory.

© 2009 Associated Press. Displayed by permission. All rights reserved.

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