L.A. Health Czar Laments Condom-Less Porn

Rhett Pardon
LOS ANGELES – As production resumes in porn, the top health official in the largest county in the United States regrets the decision by the industry to film without condoms.

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of public health for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, told XBiz that he thinks it is “incredibly sad that it will be business as usual” as actors continue to push their abilities – including double-anal penetration and facial cumshots – without using protective measures.

“I am concerned of the inherent risks actors face without any requirement in the industry,” Fielding told XBiz. “Condoms are the only way to protect the actors and that is what we want.”

Fielding, who supports some type of government regulation in the industry, said that mandatory condoms are the only way of protection. “There is no other way,” he said.

Testing can also provide a false sense of security, the director said. The AIDS virus can be detected within 14 days after infection, but it is possible to contract HIV and test negative within that period and infect others before later testing reveals a person's HIV-positive status.

The adult industry’s standard in the San Fernando Valley, where nearly 95 percent of domestic porn is shot, is to rely on an expensive but advanced form of testing that detects HIV quickly after infection.

On nearly all sets, with the exception of the gay adult film industry where all actors are presumed to have HIV, no one has sex without a valid HIV test.

But the system is imperfect. Darren James was known for getting tested regularly, but he had recently shot scenes in Brazil, where fake HIV tests can be had for $10.

When James returned to California, he had sex with 12 women and apparently infected three of them before testing positive for the virus that causes AIDS.

On Wednesday, the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, which tests the actors, lifted a voluntary moratorium on filming in the porn industry. The announcement, made a month earlier than expected, coincided with another message from the nonprofit that it has taken 19 adult movie performers off a voluntary quarantine list.

AIM, which originally asked for a 60-day moratorium in the industry, said its staff met with microbiology specialists on HIV who confirmed the 19 performers had undergone sufficient testing and could be released from quarantine.

Those 19 performers waited 30 to 45 days from the date of exposure and have been tested at least twice, according to AIM. And some have been tested as many as five times, by at least six different testing methods.

Sharon Mitchell of the Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based nonprofit did not return calls by XBiz for comment.

Porn actors, who shoot as many as half a dozen films a day, have already returned to work this week. And business, as Fielding says, will go on as usual – without condoms.

Fielding, however, said that the Health Department will send his representatives to a public hearing at the Van Nuys State Office Building on June 4, where legislators, local officials and adult industry officials will discuss possible future regulation of the industry.

“We certainly will be there,” Fielding said. “We’ll do whatever it takes to control the outbreaks.”