PORN VALLEY—After months of preparation, Free Speech Coalition (FSC) today released for comment a draft version of its Bloodborne Pathogens Plan (BPP), which it hopes, when finalized, to be adopted by all adult movie and website content producers.
The impetus for the plan's release today was the success of FSC's recent visit to state legislators in Sacramento, where Executive Director Diane Duke, Treasurer Joy King and others discussed with the legislators and their staffs the subject of adult performer health issues, including the applicability of CalOSHA regulations to adult productions, the recent heavy push by industry-ignorant healthcare groups for mandatory condom use, and the possibility of introducing mandatory HIV/STI testing for performers, the vast majority of whom already voluntarily obtain such tests on a monthly basis.
"Once the BBP is accepted by a majority of industry producers, we can bring the plan back to legislators, confirming that the industry already has highly effective risk reduction procedures in place, thus negating the need for legislation," said Duke in a press release today. "Bringing the plan to CalOSHA will provide them with BBP practices for adult production companies—practices that are not only appropriate for the industry, but also highly effective."
Among those whose input was significant in formulating the plan were AIM Healthcare founder Dr. Sharon Mitchell, talent agent/performer Derek Hay of LA Direct Models, Evil Angel owner John Stagliano, Hothouse Video owner Steven Scarborough, adult industry attorneys Paul Cambria and Jeffrey Douglas, and attorney Karen Tynan, who specializes in issues involving CalOSHA.
The release of the draft plan is intended in part to assure that the adult industry's input is heard when industry regulations are discussed in Sacramento.
"Too many times our industry is regulated without even having a seat at the table," Duke explained. "This time we are building our own chair."
As currently drafted, the BPP would call for each company to create the position of "workplace safety specialist," and would require others—particularly those dealing directly with content production—to undergo special training and use special protective equipment to handle any "contamination" by blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM), which would be placed in required biohazard containers.
The plan also calls for companies to communicate, in writing, what duties will be expected of the contract performers and independent contractors who would potentially be engaging in sexually explicit conduct in the course of their work. Potential performers would be required to have HIV and STI tests—including tests for hepatitis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia—current to within 28 days of the performance, and each potential performer would be examined by the workplace safety specialist to make sure the performer's mouth, hands, fingers, penis, vagina, anus and adjacent pubic areas are free from "sores, cuts, lesions and any other non-intact skin condition." If such open lesions are found, the person would not be allowed to perform in the content. Companies would be expected to keep records of such inspections and their results.
Additionally, companies would be required to make available "personal protective equipment," including condoms (the plan for some reason specifies Trojans) and disposable latex gloves for handling possibly contaminated materials.
Companies also would be required to make sure that facilities for hand/face washing and showering are available to performers, and the actors themselves would be required to wash before, after and in some cases in-between sexual performances. The company would be responsible for laundering all bedding, towels and wardrobe used before, during and after each scene, and for disinfecting any areas where sexual activity has taken place, such as couches and desks.
But as thorough as the BPP appears to be even in draft form, it is unlikely to satisfy activist groups like AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which today filed a petition with CalOSHA which asks the agency to "clarify protections for workers in the adult film industry and to explicitly include a condom requirement."
"The action has been prompted by the ongoing epidemic of sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) in California’s adult film industry," claims an AHF press release. "According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH), workers in the adult film industry are ten times more likely to be infected with a sexually transmitted disease than members of the population at large. LADPH documented 2,013 individual cases of chlamydia and 965 cases of gonorrhea among workers between the years 2003 and 2007. LADPH has observed that many workers suffer multiple infections, with some performers having four or more separate infections over the course of a year. In addition, LADPH has stated that as many as 25 industry-related cases of HIV have been reported since 2004."
AVN readers are aware that most of the statistics cited by AHF and LADPH are at best misleading, and in other cases outright false. The Department of Public Health figures have been criticized by AIM's Dr. Sharon Mitchell as reflecting, in many cases, not original infections but retests of existing infections, and of course, there have been just three cases of HIV transmission within the (hetero) tested performer community in the cited four-year period, not 25.
Accompanying the AHF petition, which was delivered to four CalOSHA officials, were two PowerPoint presentations prepared by Dr. Peter Kerndt of the Health Department's Sexually Transmitted Disease Program. Kerndt, it will be remembered, was the co-author of a report titled, "The Adult Film Industry: Time To Regulate," which contained numerous factual errors. Since Kerndt's PowerPoint presentations were not made available to the press, an evaluation of their accuracy will have to wait for another day.