Porn Industry Argues That Regular STD Tests Are As Good As Condoms | The Informer | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Porn Industry Argues That Regular STD Tests Are As Good As Condoms

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Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 8:06 AM

click to enlarge Catwoman just says no to condoms. - VIVID
  • Vivid
  • Catwoman just says no to condoms.
So the porn industry has been battling to keep its adult videos condom-free -- pretty much the way you, the consumer, want it to be.

Except that the state of California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) says state and federal laws already require condoms. You see -- crazy notion here -- you're not supposed to be exposed to sperm at your workplace, even if your workplace involves a headboard. The industry has been pushing back on this contention, however, at a series of Cal/OSHA meetings.

According to this account of last week's state-porn pow-wow, an industry representative actually argued that porn's regular STD tests of performers constitute the kind of "barrier protection" that worker-safety laws mandate.

Um. Come again? You heard that right: The industry thinks that its once-a-month STD tests for performers who work for most of the major studios is barrier protection.

That argument was attributed to Diane Duke of the industry lobbying group called the Free Speech Coalition.

According to the site In These Times, this is what transpired:

Mark Roy McGrath of the Reproductive Health Interest Group at the University of California Los Angeles challenged Duke on the industry's proposed redefinition of the term "barrier." He noted that definitions for terms like "barrier protection" are borrowed from other fields where they already have clear and established meanings.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation staffer Whitney Engeran-Cordoba asked point blank if the Free Speech Coalition was saying that testing is an equivalent alternative to physical protection. Duke and FSC lawyer Kevin Blunt affirmed that this was their position.

As it is, the state says porn actors should be using condoms, because California's definition of "barrier protection" is the sane one -- actual barriers that protect workers from blood-borne pathogens.

Of course, the bigger problem is this: The state doesn't have the resources to enforce the rule. It'll write a ticket here and there to porn producers who don't require condoms. And producers will chalk it up as the cost of doing business -- business as usual.

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