Like Vultures to a Corpse

On June 11 a story broke that a female adult entertainment performer tested positive for HIV. And like vultures to a corpse, government officials and autocratic NPOs gathered to rip at the flesh of the adult producers, performers and AIM Healthcare.

The LA County Health Department (LACPH) spread misinformation through the L.A. Times, claiming that there had been 22 such incidents since 2004. Later, LACPH had to retract those numbers, but the damage had already been done. Cal-OSHA came pounding on AIM’s door, demanding to inspect patient records.

Meanwhile the AIDS Healthcare Foundation decided to hold a rally at the Hustler Hollywood retail store. Never mind that they were not at a production studio, but a novelty retail store. Never mind that there were fewer than 20 picketers at the rally and, strangely enough, the signs they carried were simply large images of the Lifestyles condom logo. Apparently Lifestyles is a major donor for the AIDS Healthcare foundation. Did I mention that the Hustler Hollywood store does not carry the Lifestyle brand?

Anytime anyone is diagnosed with HIV, there is cause for concern, and if that person is a performer in the adult industry there is added concern from the industry. Because of the adult industry’s successful self-regulation, this case was identified and isolated immediately.

One adult entertainment performer is diagnosed positive in five years and the vultures swarm. Without delay, these government agencies and autocratic NPOs decide that they must regulate; they must control the adult industry, an industry they can’t even begin to comprehend. For the 12 years prior to accepting my position at FSC, I worked in reproductive healthcare, overseeing eight clinics; I can tell you that the results our industry realizes from AIM and self regulation are phenomenal and could not begin to be paralleled by even the best of Health Departments, let alone LACPH.

We, the adult entertainment industry, are the experts at keeping the spread of HIV out of our industry. We are the experts at keeping kids out of our industry. We are the experts on all aspects of our industry, yet those that would regulate us seldom invite us to the table. That is why industry-created organizations like AIM, ASACP, and yes, FSC, are so critical to the success and the sustainability of the adult entertainment industry.

These organizations, created by the industry for the industry, serve you in untold ways on a daily basis. Joan Irvine at ASACP works tirelessly with mainstream partners to make sure our voice is heard when anti-industry zealots try to associate us with child pornography. Sharon Mitchell has just hired a prominent infectious disease specialist to join AIM’s team, and we at FSC, continue to work on industry Best Practices that we can communicate to our legislators at the state and federal level. Time and time again, our industry is asked to meet standards higher than any other industry would be required to meet, and time and time again we step up to meet them.

FSC and our partner agencies will continue to uphold and covey the high standards that the industry has set for itself in a number of areas. The industry has armed itself with formidable ammunition in its self regulation and member agencies. We can proudly stand up and let the world know that the adult entertainment industry’s self regulation works. The vultures are circling, but the industry is ready to fight back. It’s time to go vulture hunting!