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Jan 12 2015

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SIN CITY SEXWORKER SAFETY: Nevada Considers Tighter Rules after Porn Actor Infected with HIV

PRODUCTION

An adult movie shoot in Nevada that ended with two male actors infected with HIV has state and local health officials considering more stringent safety regulations for pornographic film productions, including mandatory use of condoms.

Health officials are looking at whether more specific and stringent rules are needed for the porn industry, which has grown in Nevada since 2012. That’s when Los Angeles County began requiring adult movie performers to wear condoms during filming, prompting a sharp decline in porn production in what long has been the industry’s capital city.

Los Angeles County saw fewer than 50 requests for adult film permits in 2013, down from 485 the year before the condom requirement took effect.

In a joint statement from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services and the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, officials say they are now reviewing whether to adopt similar rules for the adult film industry as those governing sex workers in Nevada’s legal brothels, which require condoms and regular testing and have never seen a reported case of HIV transmission.

State health officials note that federal workplace safety regulations already call for the use of “personal protective equipment” and require employers to protect their workers from hazards that can cause bodily injury. Nevada OSHA laws, meanwhile, address the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C by requiring employers to protect workers exposed to blood or “other potentially infectious material” on the job.

Nevada could follow LA’s lead in response to what officials are calling “the first well-documented case of occupational HIV transmission among actors in the adult film industry.”

The incident is believed to have occurred during a film shoot in September in Las Vegas, but it didn’t come to light until late last month when the California Department of Public Health issued an “occupational health alert” detailing the incident.

According to that report, a male adult film actor who initially tested negative for HIV began to experience symptoms of a viral infection during the second of two film productions. The man subsequently tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS, as did another male actor from the same film.

“Public health investigation and laboratory results provide very strong evidence that the actor transmitted HIV to the other actor as a result of unprotected sex during the film shoot,” the alert from California states.

Citing patient confidentiality, California health authorities have declined to say when and where in Nevada the incident occurred or to identify any of the actors or the company involved.

Nevada officials declined to comment — or even confirm that the HIV transmission happened in Nevada — calling it “a confidential investigation being handled by California.”

The Free Speech Coalition, a California-based adult film industry group, was more forthcoming. In a Dec. 30 statement, the group said the infection occurred in September on a Nevada film set that did not comply with industry standards, including the use of highly sensitive tests for HIV and a testing database to help track any performers who might show signs of disease.

“Not only did this leave those who participated at risk, it made it much harder to track scene partners once the possible infection was discovered,” the Free Speech Coalition said.

The group said it joined California health officials in declaring a production moratorium once the infections were discovered.

Though Nevada officials said there has been a rise in porn production in the state since LA County tightened its regulations, it’s difficult to know exactly how many adult movies are shot in the Las Vegas Valley.

Film permits are required for some locations, but none are needed to shoot on private property as long as crews obey noise ordinances and avoid disturbing neighbors. Neither the city of Las Vegas nor unincorporated Clark County have any special rules for producing adult films beyond what’s required for any other production.

It’s unclear what a condom mandate and other restrictions might do to Nevada’s budding adult movie business, but some adult film insiders predict trouble ahead for California’s estimated $6 billion porn industry as a result of the stricter safeguards.

Peter Acworth owns Kink.com, a California-based production company that has been filming in Las Vegas. In an open letter posted to his blog last year, Acworth wrote: “If the current direction continues, I believe it to be inevitable that what remains of the adult video industry will leave the state. Additionally, I fear smaller production companies will shoot underground and that we will see a reduction in the safety on-set that the industry has worked very hard to build over the last decade.”

One Los Angeles-based health organization, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, has lodged several formal complaints against Kink.com for allegedly allowing unsafe practices that exposed adult film actors to disease. One such complaint, filed with Nevada OSHA in August, targeted the Southern Nevada production of a movie called “Vegas Road Trip,” which the organization says depicts men without condoms engaging in sexual activities “highly likely to spread blood-borne pathogens.”

Nevada is the only state that allows some of its counties to license and regulate brothels, but the law mandates the use of condoms during sexual intercourse and oral sex. Licensed prostitutes must be tested weekly for some sexually transmitted diseases and monthly for others including HIV, and brothel owners or operators can be held liable if they knowingly employ a sex worker who tests positive for HIV.

Clark is the only county where brothels are expressly outlawed by state law.

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrean on Twitter.

AHF: Nevada Brothel Rules to Apply to Porn

After another performer became infected with HIV while working in the porn industry in October, Nevada health officials announced they are considering applying the same regulations required of sex workers in brothels to the adult film industry. Since 1988, when the State Health Department first mandated condom use for all prostitutes in all brothels, there have been no reported HIV infections tied to Nevada brothels.

According to the L.A. Daily News, “Nevada’s health regulations on licensed brothels require ‘each patron to wear and use a latex prophylactic while engaging in sexual intercourse, oral-genital contact or any touching of the sexual organs or other intimate parts of a person.’”

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–After another adult film performer became infected with HIV while working in the porn industry in October, Nevada health officials announced that they are considering applying the same strict regulations required of sex workers in brothels in Nevada to the adult film industry. Since 1988, when the State Health Department first mandated condom use for all prostitutes in all brothels, there have been no reported HIV infections tied to Nevada brothels. Nevada is the only jurisdiction in the United States where prostitution is legally allowed.

“Nevada’s health regulations on licensed brothels require ‘each patron to wear and use a latex prophylactic while engaging in sexual intercourse, oral-genital contact or any touching of the sexual organs or other intimate parts of a person.’”

“In the twenty-seven years that Nevada has required condom use in its brothels, there has not been a single case of HIV transmission found in, or tied to Nevada brothels,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). “By comparison, since 2004, public health officials—including CDC officials—have documented on-set transmission of at least four HIV infections in performers while they were actually working on adult film sets. Since that same time, over two-dozen adult performers were found to be infected with HIV while they were working in the industry. Nevada’s move to apply and enforce the same health and safety regulations in the porn industry as its brothels seems like a no-nonsense move that will protect adult film workers as well as the public they may ultimately interact with.”

According to the L.A. Daily News, “Nevada’s health regulations on licensed brothels require ‘each patron to wear and use a latex prophylactic while engaging in sexual intercourse, oral-genital contact or any touching of the sexual organs or other intimate parts of a person.’”

In mid-October, the Free Speech Coalition (FSC), the adult industry trade group, instituted a moratorium on adult industry filming due to reports of an industry-related HIV infection—due to what was most likely this latest HIV case reported last week. The filming ban was lifted by the FSC the following week.

California health officials confirmed the on-set transmission after sending blood samples to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which genetically sequenced (genotyping and phenotyping) the virus found in the performers involved, and matched it to an adult film actor the infected performer worked with.

The adult film industry concedes that it did have three (3) confirmed on–set transmissions in 2004 after a male performer who had worked in adult films in South America returned to the U.S. and resumed filming adult films in Los Angeles—subsequently infecting three female partners on set.

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 380,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare

Contacts

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications, AHF
+1.323.308.1833 work
+1.323.791.5526 mobile
gedk@aidshealth.org
or
Christopher Johnson, Associate Director of Communications, AHF
+1.323.960.4846 work
+1.310.886.9913 mobile
christopher.johnson@aidshealth.org

Permanent link to this article: http://porninthevalley.com/2015/01/12/nevada-considers-tighter-rules-porn-actor-infected-hiv/

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