LOS ANGELES-- As part of its ongoing campaign to require the use of condoms in porn films shot and produced in California in an effort to reduce the spread of STDs including HIV, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and members of the advocacy group, FAIR (‘For Adult Industry Responsibility’), will host a press teleconference Wednesday, April 4th at 10:00 AM Pacific to announce results of a recent poll of likely Los Angeles County voters that shows enthusiastic support for a ballot measure requiring adult film performers to use condoms in films.
In addition, backers of the Los Angeles County ballot measure will announce they have collected over 235,000 signatures on the measure--more than the 232,153 signatures needed--by June 5th to qualify the measure for inclusion on the November 2012 election ballot. However, AHF and FAIR (For Adult Industry Responsibility), plan to collect a total of 374,000 signatures as a safety cushion to ensure the measure will qualify.
The voter poll, conducted by the firm, Research Now, was conducted during the week of March 16-23, 2012, and surveyed 1,046 likely Los Angeles voters. The poll showed strong support for a proposed ballot measure requiring adult film performers to use condoms in films, including the facts that:
-- 83% had heard about the measure,
-- 63% would vote ‘yes’ to require condoms; and of that number, 77% of women would vote ‘yes,’
-- Over 80% see condom issue as one of public health, worker safety or fairness.
The ballot measure, known as the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, modeled on County’s health permit process for tattoo and massage parlors and bathhouses, would, “...require producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (“the Department”) and pay a permit fee set by the Department in an amount sufficient for necessary enforcement.”
“We are pleased to announce that we have reached two critical milestones in our efforts on condom use in adult films in Los Angeles County: first, we passed the number of signatures needed to qualify our County measure this past weekend, with over 235,000 signatures now collected; and second, a voter poll that we recently commissioned and conducted shows enthusiastic support for requiring condoms in porn,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation and one of the five named proponents of the ballot initiative.
“Today, 63% of likely voters support the condom measure--and of this group, 77% of women support it. In addition, voters overwhelmingly see this issue as a matter of public health, worker safety and fairness--over 80% collectively, and few Los Angeles voters seem concerned about the industry’s threat to leave California over the issue.”
From January 3, 2012, through April 1, backers have collected over 235,000 signatures--more than the 232,153 signatures needed (10% of votes cast for governor in the County of Los Angeles during the November 2010 election) by June 5, 2012 in order to qualify measure for November 2012 election. AHF and FAIR intend to collect 374,000 signatures as a cushion.
This ordinance will be known as the ‘County of Los Angeles Safer Sex In The Adult Film Industry Act.’ Advocates need to collect 232,153 signatures of voters by June 5, 2012, and if successful, would place the measure on the November 2012 election--the same ballot as the presidential election.
On December 8, Michael Ruiz, a Staff Assistant with the Election Planning and Coordination Section of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office provided the following preliminary ‘Official Title and Summary’ for the proposed ballot measure as set forth below:
-- The measure would enact an ordinance to add Chapter 11.39, entitled ‘Adult Films,” to Title 11, Health and Safety, of the Los Angeles County Code.
-- The purpose of the measure is intended to minimize the spread of sexually transmitted infections by regulating the adult film industry.
-- The measure would require producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (“the Department”) and pay a permit fee set by the Department in an amount sufficient for necessary enforcement.
-- The measure would provide for a permitting process that requires application submission and proof of completion of a blood borne pathogen training course, after which a permit shall be issued. The measure also requires submission of an exposure control plan.
-- The measure would require use of condoms for all acts of anal or vaginal sex during the production of adult films, as well as the posting of the public health permit and notice to performers regarding condom use.
-- The measure would authorize the Department to enforce the provisions of the ordinance, including suspending or revoking the public health permit for violating the ordinance, or any other law, following notice and an opportunity for an administrative review. Prior notice would not be required if any immediate danger to the public and safety is found or reasonably suspected. Violation of the ordinance would be subject to civil fines and/or criminal misdemeanor charges.
-- The measure would provide that in the event another ballot measure relating to the permits for the adult film industry appears on the same ballot, that this measure shall prevail if it receives the greater number of affirmative votes, and the competing measure shall be null and void.
-- The measure authorizes the Board of Supervisors to amend the chapter by ordinance, passed by a majority vote, in order to further its purposes. The chapter may only be repealed by ordinance adopted by a vote of the electors or by an amendment of the Los Angeles County Charter superseding the ordinance.
-- The measure provides that if any part of the ordinance is held to be invalid or unconstitutional, then remaining provisions shall be severable and remain in full force and effect.
Background on AHF’s Adult Film Worker Safety Efforts and STD Infections in the Industry:
AHF’s move to spearhead this ballot initiative was prompted by two outbreaks of HIV in the industry and an ongoing epidemic of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in California’s adult film industry. As part of its ongoing campaign to require the use of condoms in adult films, AHF has undertaken high profile advocacy efforts directly targeting the industry, including key players like Hustler’s founder Larry Flynt and Vivid Entertainment’s Steve Hirsch; it has also publicly pressed Los Angeles County political and health officials to comply with the law as far as legal reporting of HIV and STD cases--including those found among performers in the industry--and to require the use of condoms on film sets in Los Angeles.
In addition, multiple organizations committed to protecting the public health have called for mandatory use of condoms in the production of adult films, including the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the California Conference of Local AIDS Directors, the California STD Controllers Association, the National Coalition of STD Directors, the National Association of City and County Health Officials, AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the California Medical Association.
STDs in the Adult Film Industry in Los Angeles County
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. In the period April 2004 to March 2008 there have been 2,847 STD infections diagnosed among 1,884 performers in the adult industry in LA County. LADPH has also 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. County health officials attribute the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in the porn industry to a lack of protective equipment for partners, including condoms. The agency recommends condoms be used during production, but has never taken steps to ensure their use, or to protect the performers who are essentially required to endanger their health in order to remain employed.
“For too long, elected officials have dodged this workplace safety issue, punting the issue from city to county to state, and as a consequence, the health and safety of these workers has been neglected, often with dire consequences. This is why we have taken up this ballot measure campaign: so the people, the voters in Los Angeles County, may act--or force County officials to act--on this important health and safety issue affecting adult film performers,” added AHF’s Weinstein.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 135,000 individuals in 26 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org , find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.