California porn actors free not to use condoms in sex scenes after state fails to pass bill - despite spate of HIV cases

Porn safe-sex law voted down after filmmakers threaten to leave state

Los Angeles

Lawmakers in California have voted against legislation to force porn actors to use condoms during sex scenes, despite four adult film performers testing positive for HIV within the past month. The proposed new law, AB 640, would have introduced a series of mandatory health and safety measures to porn film sets, including medical testing and training.

Los Angeles County passed Measure B, a local law enforcing condom use on set, in 2012. Many porn producers threatened to move their operations elsewhere in California, and warned that the law would not only be futile, but would also cause damage to the delicate California economy. The multibillion-dollar porn business has itself experienced a marked decline due to the recession and the rise of free internet pornography.

Traditionally, some 90 per cent of US porn films have been produced in Los Angeles – most of those in the San Fernando Valley, not far from several Hollywood studios. Without any means of enforcing its regulations, Measure B has proven ineffectual, but several porn producers have reportedly relocated nonetheless, to neighbouring counties and north to San Francisco. Had AB 640 passed, they threatened to move to other US cities including Miami and Las Vegas.

Within the past month, three adult performers have publicly announced that they have tested positive for HIV, including actress Cameron Bay and her boyfriend, who goes by the screen name Rod Daily. Pro-condom campaign group The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) says a fourth performer has come forward privately to reveal their own positive diagnosis.

Industry groups insist the performers in question did not contract the virus in the course of their work, though the porn trade organisation the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) has called a moratorium on filing until all of their onscreen partners can also be tested for HIV.

In a written statement following the defeat of AB 640, the FSC’s Diane Duke said, “Three performers did test positive for HIV in the past month, but none of them contracted it on an adult set. Politicians tried to use concern about HIV to push through a mandate opposed by both performers and producers.”

Yet Michael Weinstein, executive director of the AHF, said he expected the bill to be reintroduced in the next legislative session. “We expect it to pass,” Weinstein said. “The opinion in the community has gone in the direction of the importance of protection.”

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