FSC Meeting Focuses on Performer Testing & Condom Law

RESEDA, Calif.—In the first of two adult industry meetings called to discuss performer testing, possible producer or talent agent liability under federal and state healthcare laws, and the progress (or lack thereof) of the City of Los Angeles' mandatory condom law as well as the ballot initiative today approved for placement on the Los Angeles County's November (presidential) ballot, more than 50 adult producers, agents, performers, attorneys and others turned out for what became at times a raucous discussion.

The meeting, which got under way at about 1:15 this afternoon, began with Free Speech Coalition (FSC) executive director Diane Duke and Kink.com owner Peter Acworth explaining how the Adult Production Health and Safety Service (APHSS) system operates, with the pair taking the audience through a typical sign-up process, then showing what information performers themselves can access from the APHSS database, and what information is made available to producers and talent agents.

Basically, anyone with access to the database can use the performer's real name to find out whether, on any given day, he or she is available to work in a sexually explicit movie or Web production—a "minimalist approach" which Acworth described as essential for security in the post-PornWikileaks era.

Also discussed was what legal liability producers and agents might have for violating federal and state HIPAA medical privacy laws by keeping performer STD tests in their files. This drew objection from more than one agent in the audience, who claimed that it was he whom producers would call if one of his performers showed up for a shoot without a copy of her/his latest HIV/STD test, and it was brought out that while performers could give test centers permission to give that person's monthly test results to the performer's agent, it would be unwise for the agent to keep such tests on file... and that it was definitely a violation for a producer to keep copies of such tests, although they would be allowed to inspect a test if a performer voluntarily showed it to the producer.

However, Duke stressed that the best way to find out if a particular performer were available for work, part of which "availability" is a negative HIV/STD test, is to consult the APHSS database, to which all local testing facilities have now agreed to report results showing no infections, and to help arrange for generational testing for any performers found to have been in contact with an HIV-positive performer.

Duke also asked Dr. Peter Miao of Cutting Edge Testing to speak briefly about the types of HIV tests available, as well as what other tests—gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis—should also be performed on a regular basis. Referring to a graph showing the rapid growth of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Dr. Miao recommended (as Manwin now requires) that performers be tested every two weeks.

"Every 10 days would be better," he said, "but that might not be practical for everyone, so every two weeks is okay."

Dr. Miao also reported that in his discussion with California health authorities, they agreed that reporting positive HIV tests to the state should be delayed until both a PCR-RNA test (such as the industry standard Aptima test) and a confirmatory Western Blot test have been performed. This was good news, since it would allow time for industry leaders to determine which performers the HIV-positive performer had worked with, to bring those performers in for immediate testing, resulting in a shorter production moratorium than would occur if such a work stoppage were ordered by city or county (or state) health authorities.

Dr. Miao also advised performers to keep a logbook of all the movies and Web shoots for which they were hired to perform sex acts, as well as any off-set sexual contacts the performer had, to make it easier to locate partners for rapid testing in case of an STD outbreak. Duke and attorney Karen Tynan added that it would also be a good idea for agents to keep similar lists for all of their clients, noting that, "The smaller the test window, the better."

The meeting concluded with Duke, Tynan and fellow attorney Allan Gelbard discussing the latest developments in the city's attempts to implement its mandatory condom ordinance. As things currently stand, the "working group" charged with developing regulations around the ordinance has been given until September 1 to complete its work, the major stumbling block currently being that no city agency—not police, fire, city personnel nor permit issuer FilmLA—wants the job of inspecting movie sets to make sure condoms are being used during sex scenes, and it's unclear if the city will be able to find any group both willing and qualified to conduct such inspections.

Duke noted that as far as the LA County ordinance is concerned, earlier this morning at a meeting of county supervisors, AIDS Healthcare Foundation's (AHF) petition to put a mandatory condom ordinance on the county's November ballot was delayed until some legal questions could be answered—a petition drive which Duke noted had cost AHF over $2 million to implement.

When one audience member asked what FSC was doing to prevent the county ordinance from passing, Gelbard responded that many different responses were currently being considered, but that such discussions were in such early stages that it would be unwise to talk about them in a public forum.

The meeting lasted about 90 minutes. Some of the attendees included producers/directors Marci Hirsch and Shylar Cobi of Vivid, Dan O'Connell and Moose of Girlfriends Films, Just Dave of Manwin, Wit Maverick of Adam & Eve, Brad Armstrong of Wicked, Scott David of X-Play Productions, Kelly Holland of Penthouse, Kevin Moore, Miles Long, Nate Liquor and Ernest Greene; talent agents Shy Love of ATMLA and Kevin of Type 9; and current or former performers Nina Hartley, Alia Janine, Kimberly Kane and Lydia Lee (formerly Julie Meadows), and attorney Michael Fattorosi.