AIDS Group Sues L.A. County for Not Regulating Porn Shoots

Jul 16, 2009 1:15 PM PST
LOS ANGELES — The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has filed suit against Los Angeles County public health officials, claiming they have not made any moves to require condom use on the porn set.

At the heart of the suit, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has asked the Los Angeles Superior Court to order condom use or take other "reasonable steps" to put a crimp on the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

“[T]he Department of Public Health has done nothing to combat this known, serious threat to the people of Los Angeles County, needlessly placing thousands of people at risk of disease and death,” the suit says.

County health officials, the foundation says, are obligated to carry out California's §120175, which essentially empowers officials to take action relative to the prevention or spread of communicable diseases.

“The Department of Public Health has a responsibility to try and control the spread of STDs in L.A. County — particularly in a commercial venue," said Michael Weinstein, president of the Hollywood, Calif.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, one of the largest community-based HIV/AIDS medical providers in the nation.

"Despite this responsibility, 29 days after an outbreak of a potentially lethal virus — HIV — in the porn industry, the county has not taken a single step to address this serious public health threat,” Weinstein said.

"This is not just about one industry, but about our entire community as the spread of disease among performers endangers themselves as well as their sexual partners outside the industry. There is no firewall between porn performers and the general public.”

Weinstein told XBIZ last month that health officials “have been asleep at the switch with regard to monitoring HIV and STD prevention and testing in the region's porn industry.”

Weinstein also said that Los Angeles health officials are “afraid of the industry" that includes 1,200 performers, 75 percent whom are women, according to Department of Public Health stats.

“The industry wraps itself in the 1st Amendment,” he said. “It has much too much power in the halls of Sacramento and the county defends them, or they just don't want to take responsibility.”

The suit is more than one month after revelations made clear that an adult film actress tested positive for HIV and county health officials released data that 18 HIV cases and more than 3,700 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have been reported since 2004.

Those numbers were revealed by the AIM Healthcare Foundation, which monitors sexually transmitted diseases for the industry.

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