RESEDA, Calif. — The ongoing dialogue about adult performer STI testing moved forward on Tuesday afternoon, when representatives from Free Speech Coalition’s Adult Production Health & Safety Services hosted an industry-wide meeting to explain how the organization works as well as address the Los Angeles condom ordinance.
A group of about 50 industry professionals, most of whom were content producers, attended the 90-minute meeting at Majestic Plaza that was streamed live on XBIZ.net.
FSC Executive Director Diane Duke led the discussion that started with an overview of how APHSS.org works and went into the standards for HIV testing and the importance of supporting a system that upholds protocols for industry self-regulation.
Veteran adult industry attorney Allan Gelbard, speaking on behalf of APHSS, may have best summed up the organization’s endeavors when he noted that APHSS is intended to bring a degree of order to the challenging process of monitoring performer health.
“Understand that this system was thought through by a lot more than one or two people and while this was being developed there were a lot of conversations between a lot of lawyers with different specialties in different areas of the law,” Gelbard said. “And what has transpired here is what a large group of people think is the best way to do this under a variety of very bad circumstances."
Gelbard continued, “There are no perfect fixes in this situation. If you’re going to be involved in this industry and you’re going to participate as a producer, director or a performer or an agent, there is going to be some liability there.
“What you cannot do is eliminate it completely and any lawyer who tells you that you can doesn’t know this industry.
"But what I can tell you is if you do the best you can to comply with the most practical system that’s available, it will limit your exposure to the greatest degree possible. And that’s all that any of these people can tell you.”
Duke emphasized that APHSS is a work in progress and the program was developed to protect both talent and producers in the event of an HIV infection.
“We made changes that were not intended to handcuff you,” Duke said. “We’re trying to provide you with tools that will help you reduce your risk and your liability.”
Duke added, “We started this a little over a year ago and it’s been brutal trying to get this program off the ground because this is different. This is different than what we’re used to.”
The meeting started with Duke introducing Kink.com CEO Peter Acworth, who is also an FSC board member that was closely involved in developing the APHSS.org site.
He explained the basics to signing into the APHSS database for both performers and producers, noting how careful steps were taken to insure the security of the database.
“The security comes from the lack of data that’s entered and that was the goal when we set out to do this,” Acworth said.
Karen Tynan, an adult industry and workplace safety attorney, said that APHSS was specifically designed to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and state privacy laws.
“We know entities that have solicited performers to bring privacy suits against other people,” Tynan said.
Two questions arose about who can legally ask to see a performer’s test result and whether producers should keep paper test results on file.
APHSS says keeping test results on file is the sole responsibility of the testing clinic, and that producers and agents should be checking the APHSS database, rather than asking to see a piece of paper on the set.
“We really need to get away from older practices of keeping a piece of paper,” Duke said.
The speakers made it clear that 2257 compliance does not require maintaining performers’ medical records and that having such records could potentially open up a producer or agent to civil liability.
“If you want to keep a copy of the [performer’s] test, consult with an attorney,” Gelbard said.
Duke recapped the approved APHSS facilities, noting “this is not an exhaustive list.”
“This list will grow,” Duke said. “But right now no matter where you are, you can get tested at an APHSS facility.”
Meanwhile, APHSS invited Dr. Peter Miao, an infectious disease specialist from the APHSS-approved Cutting Edge Testing, to talk about the timeframe for HIV detection and how often performers should be testing. Currently, the APHSS standard is every 28 days, however Manwin recently mandated tests every 14 days for performers in its productions.
“It takes a while to develop the virus in the bloodstream,” Miao said. “The timeframe varies quite a bit. … Every 14 days is ideal, every 10 days is even better.”
Miao said that in the event of a positive test result that the first conversation with the patient should be done in person, and that performer privacy is paramount.
He also said he encourages performers “to keep a log of [sexual] activities, professional or social.”
Shy Love, owner of Adult Talent Managers, pointed out that her agency logs all of her performers’ scenes and partners. Love will host her own meeting to discuss performer testing at 7 p.m. on July 19 at LFP’s production studio in Chatsworth.
Duke announced that September is "Syphillis month," meaning all APHSS-approved facilities will be also testing for Syphillis; APHSS clinics will also test for the infection in March and do it in six-month intervals.
On the issue of the LA County condom ordinance on this November’s voting ballot, both Duke and Gelbard told the group that FSC is diligently working behind the scenes to counter the proposed measure. However many of FSC’s actions cannot be discussed publicly, Gelbard said.
FSC Membership Director Joanne Cachapero said FSC will mount a ‘no’ campaign through print ads, social networks and other means, but that matching up against the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s deep financial resources remains a tall order.
“We will do what we can,” Cachapero assured.
One positive is that city officials are “not close” to figuring out how to implement a mandatory condom ordinance,” Duke said.
Gelbard concluded, “FSC has your best interests in mind.”
To watch the full video of the meeting, click here.