Features Adult Industry Condom Use Policies

Joanne Cachapero
NEW YORK — On, mainstream news writer Eric M. Strauss filed an in-depth report on condom use policies in the adult video industry with interviews from major industry players, as well as Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Director of STD programs Dr. Peter Kerndt.

"There's little regard and no protection for the people who work in this industry. This is the last at-risk population exposed unnecessarily to the risk of HIV and a host of other sexually transmitted diseases," Kerndt told the reporter.

Strauss points out in the article that over the past 10 years, 17 performers tested positive for HIV/AIDS; six of those individuals were prevented from exposing others to the virus while working because of the system put in place by Adult Industry Healthcare (AIM), founded by former performer Sharon Mitchell.

The article recounts also, the most recent HIV outbreaks, in 1998 and 2004, and gives details about each incident, as well as pointing out that the process of self-regulation administered through AIM is likely the only safeguard against governmental agencies becoming involved in healthcare safety and standards for the industry.

Strauss reports also that although there are state health regulations pertaining to safety in the workplace, that most adult video performers are not considered full-time employees, resulting in less scrutiny from state officials.

The protocol for how AIM testing works was explained to Strauss by Digital Playground contract star Jesse Jane.

"There's no 'I forgot my test.' It's on the computer and it's demanded," she said.

"Before I do a scene with a guy or girl I have them tested the two days before, and it takes 48 hours to get the results so I know they're clean,” Jane explained. “For me condoms hurt, so I can't get into a scene and I can't fake it. But I do promote safe sex especially if you are not going to get tested and you should get tested anyways at least once a month just to be safe."

Pointing out that audiences prefer no-condom fantasies in their adult content, Strauss spoke also to Hustler president Michael Kline, as well as director/producer Jules Jordan.

"Testing's a must for everyone in the industry and that is how I can back up my stance on no condoms. I don't think the fans want to see condoms on film, because the fans are coming to see fantasy and condoms are not usually part of fantasy," Jordan said.

AIM’s Mitchell and perfomer Jayden Jaymes are quoted also.

Strauss was also able to speak to attorney Bob McCulloch, who represents former performer Darren James.

James was allegedly “Patient 0,” or the primary exposure contact in the 2004 HIV outbreak that shut down adult production for 60 days and resulted in four female performers becoming infected.

"The system currently is designed to sacrifice a small number of people who are going to get it, and then limit the damage,” McCulloch said. “It's a system that has damage control, but not prevention."