Mandatory Condoms in Porn

This is the handout created for our panel at CatalystCon 2014 (www.catalystcon.com). It is an overview of the current testing standards and system, some discussion of why the industry was so united against legislation to mandate condoms in porn, and some information about the specific “condoms in porn” bill that was introduced in California (AB 1576).

 Mandatory Condoms in Porn

Panelistscatcon

  • Dane Ballard (@Daneballard)
  • Dylan Ryan (@thedylanryan)
  • Jessica Drake (@thejessicadrake)
  • Shay Tiziano (@ShayBlondie)

 

Current talent testing standards

  • Testing is done every 14 days at a variety of private testing sites overseen by Adult Production Health and Safety Services (http://blog.aphss.org/). Results of the tests are entered into the Performer Availability Screening Services (PASS) database. This database is maintained by The Free Speech Coalition (FSC), which is the industry’s trade organization.
  • The PASS database is checked by the company (talent department, producers, and/or directors) before shoots. It is available to models upon request.
  • There have been no transmissions of HIV on porn sets since the testing standards were implemented in 2004 by Adult Industry Media (AIM). During that same decade, there have been approximately 500,000 new HIV infections in the general population of the US (CDC).
  • The current “standard” panel of tests (urine and blood) is:
    • HIV-1 NAT (4th generation test with a 10 day “window period”)
    • HBsAG (hepatitis B)
    • Anti-HCV (hepatitis C)
    • Chlamydia
    • Gonorrhea
    • Trichomonas Vaginalis
    • Syphilis (RPR)
    • TREP-SURE EIA – Treponema pallidum Antibody, IgG by ELISA (syphilis)
    • When there is a positive test entered into the PASS database, the FSC calls a moratorium on shooting until a team of doctors determine that it is safe for shooting to resume. This process involves re-testing the possible
      “patient zero” performer and testing first-generation contacts and beyond as is determined necessary.

 

There are many ways to look at the issue of mandatory condoms in porn. Some of the issues we hope to touch on in this discussion include:

  • Autonomy of consenting adults to make their own decisions about sexual health (Are there only certain “approved” forms of sex between consenting adults? Who decides what those “approved” forms of sex are?)
  • Freedom of speech/freedom of expression
  • Reasons porn performers might chose to forgo condoms, including: “condom burn”, maintaining an erection, working with a fluid bonded partner, artistic expression, etc.
  • Ways that legislation on this issue comes down to attempts to control sexual expression (and especially to control the female body)
  • Workplace safety issues (What differentiates our perception of risk for jobs like porn performing vs. jobs like nursing or fishing? Is working in porn riskier than those jobs?)
  • Instances of pressure to use or to forgo condom usage on porn sets
  • Performer privacy (leaks, health information security)
  • Measure B mandated condoms for porn filmed in LA. What happened as a result of this legislation?

 

The proposed California-wide Mandatory Condoms in Porn law was put into suspension (which means it is effectively dead). That law was AB 1576. Our issues with that particular law include:

  • The source of this law is the Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF)- AHF has a troubling record in the adult film industry.
    • AHF backed the lawsuit to shut down Adult Industry Media (AIM), which was the original database and testing service for the adult industry. AIM was developed in 2004 after several cases of on-set transmission of HIV. The FSC has stepping in to fill this gap, but it is not as centralized as AIM. This shut-down of AIM was harmful health protections in the adult industry.
    • AHF opposes funding for HIV vaccine research “because it will divert funds from treatment for existing cases.” It’s worth noting that existing cases are the source of AHF’s $200 million per year income.
    • AHF is a stakeholder in the world’s largest condom manufacturer.
    • AHF has spent significant resources lobbying and advertizing against HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis drug Truvada.
    • The voices of performers were explicitly ignored in the crafting of this law.
    • AB 1576 was vaguely worded, punitive bill that included criminal ramifications for employees on adult film sets (including the performers supposedly being “protected”) who did not use condoms. From the text of the bill: “Because a violation of the act would be a crime under certain circumstances, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program by creating a new crime.” You can read the full text of the bill here: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/asm/ab_1551-1600/ab_1576_bill_20140130_introduced.html
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