opinion

AIM’s Sharon Mitchell Speaks Out

Diane Duke

In an article posted today on the L.A. Daily News website, Adult Industry Medical Healthcare (AIM) founder Sharon Mitchell spoke out on the recent developments with the clinic and the campaign that she claims is being waged against AIM by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and the L.A. County Department of Public Health (LACPH).

“I really can’t stress enough that this has been a conspiracy, and I don’t know if that’s the right word,” Mitchell said in the interview, describing the actions taken by both AHF and county health over the last two years.

AHF spokesperson Ged Kenslea responded by calling Mitchell’s claims false and stated, ”We’d be happy to have a clinic that services the adult entertainment industry.

“But we’d actually like them to be competent and honor the laws of California with regard to what they need to do to protect patient health and provide relevant information to local public health officials in a timely basis – frankly, neither of which AIM seems willing and able to do at this point,” Kenslea added.

Kenslea also was quoted in a Sept. 2010 article posted at CaliforniaWatch.org, regarding a situation where AHF was implicated in violating privacy rights of patients when state insurance agency MediCal illegally disclosed HIV-positive patients’ information, in order for the organization to offer services to 5,000 individuals. Both the ACLU and two other HIV/AIDS advocacy organizations made claims that MediCal had illegally breached privacy laws in disclosing the results of HIV tests. MediCal’s 2007 $1M contract with AHF was subsequently terminated.

In today’s L.A. Daily News article, LACPH  Director Dr. Jonathan Fielding was quoted as saying, ”I don’t think there’s pressure to shut the clinic, but I hope the industry feels pressure to do the right thing. Nobody should have to work in an environment where they subject themselves to life-threatening illness.”

AHF also has filed complaints with regulatory agency CalOSHA against numerous adult industry businesses in its campaign to mandate condom use on adult production sets. And recently, at a “Condoms in the Adult Industry” seminar hosted at UCLA, representatives from AHF, LACPH, Pink Cross Foundation, UCLA’s Center for Reproductive Health, and Free Speech Coalition (FSC) met to discuss the topic of regulation on adult industry production sets. – jc

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