Tomorrow, voters in California will decide whether or not to pass Proposition B, which would require adult film stars throughout Los Angeles county to wear condoms during porn shoots. If Proposition B goes into effect, it will also allow the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to enforce sexual health in the industry by conducting inspections to ensure that actors are adhering to the regulation.
Michael Weinstein, the executive director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, is the primary proponent of the measure, which he says will help safeguard public health among a population that tends to lack health insurance coverage:
Weinstein has said the adult film industry’s current testing methods have contributed to an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases. He has also said that performers are not medically insured, which means tax payers front the bills for their healthcare. [...]
An independent study released by AHF last week found undiagnosed sexually transmitted diseases may be more common in the adult film industry than previously reported. The study, to be published in December in the Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, found that roughly a third of the 168 adult film actors who participated in the research project were found to have a previously undiagnosed STD.
“I would call that an epidemic,” Weinstein said. “We’re in the business of promoting condoms. I’ve been called a condom Nazi and it doesn’t faze me.”
But members of the adult film industry say that Weinstein is mischaracterizing the issue, and claim the measure represents unnecessary government interference that infringes on their artistic expression. Adult film stars already get tested for sexually transmitted infections about once a month, which they say is a more effective method of maintaining their sexual health. They believe their industry will be threatened if they are forced to use condoms because “it’s just not what viewers want to see.”
The entertainment industry in general has typically failed to accurately depict safer sex practices — such as showing characters using contraception or condoms on screen — although some sexual health advocacy groups are working with television executives to try to change that. Adult films represent another area where the media could model safe sexual practices for consumers.
Condom use on porn sets is actually already required under both state and city law. Proposition B would expand an existing city ordinance in Los Angeles — the first city in the nation to institute a condom requirement for adult film stars — to the broader Los Angeles county.