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Porn Stars Face Twice-a-Month STD Testing Under Proposed Law

Porn Stars Face Twice-a-Month STD Testing Under Proposed Law
Nate 'Igor' Smith for LA Weekly

Updated at the bottom with a response from the adult industry's trade group.

A new addition to a proposed law working its way through Sacramento would require porn stars to get tested for STDs every 14 days.

The main thrust (ahem) of the legislation is to require condom use on-set in California. So what's with the testing requirement? The industry says it already mandates 14-day STD tests anyway, an increase from its previous monthly protocol that appeared to be a response to STD scares last year.

The office of L.A. area state Assemblyman Isadore Hall, who's carrying the bill, tells us ...

 ... that the industry's own testing is voluntary and unenforceable, so the proposal should include it.

The adult business has long argued that its testing protocol works, citing examples when positive tests resulted in production shutdowns and quick containment.

However, it's true that not all producers adhere to the rule, nor do they have to. While the business has fought mandatory condoms tooth-and-nail, saying consumers don't want to see prophylactics, self-regulation has been spotty and often unfair to porn stars, Hall's office argues in a fact sheet on the bill:

Workers in agriculture, food service, healthcare, construction and many other industries benefit from stringent work place safety requirements that keep workers' compensation costs down and ensure a safe environment to earn a living. The adult film industry, given the type of work required, disproportionately exposes actors to a range of health and safety risks. The industry is largely self-regulated and has done an inadequate job of protecting its employees from disease infection.

Hall's folks cite Los Angeles County Department of Public Health stats that claim porn stars are ten times more likely to be infected with STDs (a claim the industry refutes).

The assemblyman said in a statement sent to the Weekly that the industry has changed its tune in the face of STD scares and that now is the time for hard-and-fast rules, no pun intended:

Porn Stars Face Twice-a-Month STD Testing Under Proposed Law
Porn fans by Nate 'Igor' Smith for LA Weekly
As you recall, in the middle of last year's series of HIV outbreaks in the adult film industry, the FSC changed their own unenforced testing protocol to 14 days believing that more frequent STI testing was an acceptable alternative to mandatory condom use.

No amount of testing by itself will ever prevent the spread of HIV or any other STI. Frequent STI testing along with mandatory condom use is the most effective way to keep adult film actors safe while working. If a 14 day testing protocol is good enough for the industry, then it is good enough to be enforced under state law.

The bill, AB 1576, would also require producers to pay for the tests, which can run a few hundred dollars and month and which are usually covered by performers.

Hall's office says the bill is headed to the state Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment next.

[Added at 5:05 p.m. Wednesday]: Diane Duke, executive director of the industry trade group known as the Free Speech Coalition, sent us this response today:

After ten years without an onset transmission Assemblymember Hall had to recognize that the protocols that adult production has in place works. This is a desperate attempt to save ill-advised and unnecessary legislation.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews .


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