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Requiring Condoms for Porn Actors Is Bad Policy

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Vivid's entire business depends on the health and safety of our performers. We make that a priority and our methods have proven effective. 
 
The California Department of Public Health says that between June 30, 2008 and June 30, 2011 there were 6,447 new cases of HIV reported in L.A. County; of these, only two were adult entertainment performers. Both likely contracted HIV in their personal lives and there was no evidence of transmission of HIV during that time period while they were working in the industry.  There have been over 340,000 adult scenes shot since 2004, with zero transmission of HIV.  

We make sure that we test all of our performers for both HIV and STDs before they engage in any sexual activity in our movies.  Our performers rightfully demand and expect that everyone is tested and we fully agree.  Additionally, performers are constantly educated on how to avoid getting HIV and STDs.

This makes it even more puzzling why the Los Angeles City Council let itself be stampeded into passing an ordinance that has questionable value and potentially disturbing implications on a variety of fronts. This happened as the result of a publicity and lobbying campaign launched by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation that was based on data an expert called "fatally flawed."

In fact the adult industry in Los Angeles has long been in the forefront of preventing and reducing sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. And we've always offered performers the option of wearing condoms if they choose, no questions asked.

According to an Associated Press report, condoms may be effective against the AIDS virus, "but data for their effectiveness against some other STDs is surprisingly spotty."

And yet, AIDS Healthcare Foundation claims this is a public health and safety issue, alleging that actors in the industry infect others.  This is blatantly false! In fact the adult industry has a better record than like populations when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). But, the adult industry is an easy target for the AHF, which has skewed facts to back up assertions made during its campaign to have this ordinance enacted. An expert in epidemiology and biostatistics, Professor Laurence S. Mayer, M.D., Ph.D., says the data AHF relied on was "without basis in science, including epidemiology. Therefore, the conclusions, analysis and advice in these three presentations should be discarded." 

Apart from the fact that the ordinance tries to solve a problem that doesn't exist, the regulation would most likely have the unintended consequence of driving film production either out of the area or underground. The productions that would remain would likely be made by more marginal producers that would simply ignore the high safety standards the industry has already established.

According to a Feb. 21, 2012  L.A. Times article, the adult industry has provided "10,000 to 20,000 jobs annually to actors, makeup artists, camera crews, caterers and the like."  If the industry is forced out, many of these jobs will disappear. As a result the City will no longer earn significant revenues from permits and other taxes.

Dealing with how the City of Los Angeles can enforce regulations that are virtually unenforceable will lead to the predictable new committee tasked with solving the unsolvable. What does the City intend to do, deploy a battalion of Condom Police?  

The City most likely will need to defend the inevitable lawsuits that will stem from this government overreach -- wasting even more time and money. The City is currently facing an ongoing budget shortfall estimated at $150 million to $200 million in the next fiscal year. It makes no sense to focus on a problem that does not exist.
 
Our experience is confirmed by the fact that many of the leading performers in the adult industry have publicly declared that they feel safe with the system currently in place. And, why not?  With no transmissions of HIV within the industry in eight years, the program is clearly successful.  The L.A. ordinance is an example of government overreach, of regulation without knowledge, guided by misinformation and misplaced morality. 
 
Bottom line: the ordinance is a bad idea.  The City government, in the middle of a true budgetary crisis, has no business regulating sexual behavior between consenting adults, intervening into how films are produced, or invading our bedrooms -- real or pretend.