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Feds Investigate Porn Healthcare Organization For Allegedly Releasing Stars' Medical Records

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has opened an investigation of the Adult Industry Medical (AIM) Health Care Foundation, the Sherman Oaks nonprofit organization that handles STD testing for the porn industry, it was announced Friday. According to a complaint by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, AIM has allegedly released patient medical information although it is supposed to remain confidential under federal rules. The department states that AHF's "allegation could reflect a violation of the general rules for impermissible uses and disclosures of protected health information ... "

The AHF states:

The federal investigation will focus on alleged privacy breaches of clinic patients and adult film actors whose health information was routinely released to producers in the adult industry. In its complaint to HHS filed earlier this year, AHF officials asserted AIM's release of clinic patient data on HIV and STD infections via an online database violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other federal and state laws.

"AIM's testing clinic has long been the industry's fig leaf attempt at self-regulation," says AHF president Michael Weinstein. "In fact, AIM is simply a ploy to deflect needed public scrutiny and responsible government regulation -- a ploy that is perpetrated at the expense of the actors' health and privacy rights."

AHF, which requested the investigation, alleges that while AIM uses federal confidentiality laws as a cover to deny releasing STD data to the state, it has released information about which actors have which diseases to porn producers. (We made a call to AIM and have yet to hear back). "AIM ... charges adult film producers an annual fee to access its online database of AIM patient test results," the foundation states.

The foundation has been on a mission to clean up the porn industry's health, including lobbying to get the state to require condoms at film shoots.

In the past AIM's founder, former porn actress Sharon Mitchell, has been painted as somewhat as a saint and den mother to the industry. The system she created has most actors test for STDs regularly at the foundation and then bring a printout of results to shoots -- a requirement for most major porn producers.

She has argued any stricter regulation would simply push the industry underground, where no such testing would likely take place.

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