HIV Case Underscores Power Struggle Between Porn Industry And Health Department

11aids-ribbon.jpgThe recent news that a local porn actress tested positive for HIV has been a cause for concern both for the adult film industry and Los Angeles county health officials. But there doesn’t seem to be much consensus on how best to deal with the situation. From the LA Times:

Public health officials said today they have had no cooperation from the adult entertainment industry health clinic that recently confirmed a porn actress had tested positive for HIV, hampering their efforts to investigate how she contracted the virus.

The Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation, a San Fernando Valley-based clinic, confirmed the positive test result to The Times on Wednesday. Despite requests from the county and state, AIM officials have not released the actress’ name or provided the name of the production company or companies where she had worked.

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The slow response from AIM – along with publicized comments from clinic representatives downplaying the incident and saying it is not a “major event” – has worried health officials who fear that little has changed in the five years since an HIV outbreak among porn performers shut down production in the multibillion dollar industry for a month.

1vncondom.jpgPerhaps to stress the seriousness of the issue, county health officials yesterday released public health data that indicates 16 adult performers have tested positive for HIV since the last big scare in 2004. The agency remains concerned about unsafe working conditions in the porn industry. Dr. Jonathan Fielding, health officer for Los Angeles County, told the LA Times, “You wouldn’t send someone to work on a high-rise building without a hard-hat, so why are we allowing these performers to perform without condoms?”