Measure B, formally known as the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, will require producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the County, follow all health and safety laws, including condom use, and pay a permit fee to cover enforcement costs
LOS ANGELES (October 31 2012) As the final days of the campaign for the November 6th election for the condoms in porn Ballot Measure B play out in Los Angeles County, a new study published in the respected journal ‘Sexually Transmitted Diseases’ (December 2012; available online today) reports that in a 2010 survey of 168 participants from an L.A. clinic treating adult performers, 47 performers—28%—were diagnosed with 96 sexually transmitted infections—a finding that counters the porn industry’s repeated claims of a lower incidence of sexually transmitted infections among performers than found in the general public.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the primary backer of the measure, which is formally known as the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, will host a PRESS TELECONFERENCE Thursday, November 1st at 10:00am Pacific Time to discuss the finding in this study titled Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing of Adult Film Performers: Is Disease Being Missed? (Authors: Rodriguez-Hart C, Chitale RA, Rigg, R, Goldstein BY, Kerndt PR and Tavrow P). The study will appear in the December 2012 issue of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and went online ahead of print 10/30/12.
WHAT: Press TELECONFERENCE—Breaking study of STDs among adult film performers refutes industry’s claims of low infection rates
WHO: Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, President & Ballot Measure Proponent
Cristina Rodriguez-Hart, MPH, lead author of the study, “Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing of Adult Film Performers: Is Disease Being Missed?”
Paula Tavrow, PhD, Director, Bixby Program on Population and Reproductive Health, UCLA
Mark McGrath, MPH, AHF Consultant & UCLA Public Health Analyst & Ballot Measure Proponent
Also available for comment throughout the day:
Jeffrey D. Klausner, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Program in Global Health UCLA-David Geffen School of Medicine and a former City of San Francisco health official and an editor of the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
WHEN: THURSDAY, November 1st 2012—-10:00 AM Pacific
Teleconference Dial in information: +1.877.411.9748 participant code #7134323
Contact: Ged Kenslea, AHF Communications (323) 791-5526 mobile
“This new study published today, October 31, 2012, by the LA County Department of Public Health and Johns Hopkins University on sexually transmitted infections in adult film workers, clearly shows the current adult industry’s testing program is failing,” Jeffrey D. Klausner, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Program in Global Health UCLA-David Geffen School of Medicine and a former City of San Francisco health official and an editor of the Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. “The current system missed nearly two-thirds of gonorrhea and chlamydia infections among workers. Of the total 96 gonorrhea and chlamydia infections found, only 36 were by current testing procedures. New testing procedures and new methods to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections are urgently needed. Regular condom use is highly effective at stopping the spread of infection. It is time the industry woke up to the fact that they must protect their workers from sexually transmitted infections. Measure B provides the needed laws to make that happen. Concerned citizens and workers must vote Yes on Measure B.”
Key facts from the study in the journal, Sexually Transmitted Diseases:
- The study authors sought to assess the prevalence of symptomatic and asymptomatic chlamydia (CT) and gonorrhea (GC) infections at all three anatomic sites (urogenital, oropharynx, rectum) among AFI performers and concordance of positivity among these sites.
- Between mid-May and mid-September 2010, a consecutive sample of adult film industry performers recruited from a primary clinic in Los Angeles that provides medical care to performers was offered oropharyngeal, rectal, and urogenital testing for gonorrhea, and rectal and urogenital testing for chlamydia.
- One-hundred sixty-eight participants were enrolled: 112 (67%) were female and 56 (33%) were male. A total of 47 participants (28%) were diagnosed with a total of 96 infections.
- Thirty women (64%) and 17 men (35%) were infected with either chlamydia and/or gonorrhea infection. Most performers (69%) worked on an adult film production in the previous 30 days. Over one-half (61%) were younger than 30 years old.
- Gonorrhea was the most common infection and the oropharynx the most common site of infection. The most common infection pattern was chlamydia and/or gonorrhea infection at all 3 anatomic sites (38% of cases): 35 (95%) oropharyngeal, 21 (91%) rectal, and 14 (39%) urogenital chlamydia and/or gonorrhea infections were asymptomatic. In total, 95 percent of oropharyngeal and 91 percent of rectal infections were asymptomatic.
- Of the performers (n=47) who were infected with gonorrhea and/or chlamydia, 11 (23%) would have been missed through urogenital testing alone. No chlamydia cases would have been missed with urogenital testing alone.
- Consistent condom use for vaginal and anal intercourse on-and off-set was reportedly low; 1% and 5%, respectively.
- Undiagnosed asymptomatic rectal and oropharyngeal STIs were common and are likely reservoirs for transmission to sexual partners inside and outside the workplace. Performers should be tested at all anatomical sites irrespective of symptoms, and condom use should be enforced to protect workers in this industry.
“The findings in this study speak very clearly to the need for increased protection and enforcement in this industry,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and one of the five named proponents of the ballot initiative. “For the health and safety of the performers working in the industry, it’s only fair that they are also afforded the same safeguards as other Californians in their workplaces that we believe Measure B will provide and we urge voters to vote ‘Yes’ next Tuesday.”
Background on Ballot Measure B
Ballot Measure B is formally known as the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act. The measure will require producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the County, follow all health and safety laws, including condom use, and pay a permit fee to cover enforcement of the law. Major funding in support of the measure is being provided by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which drafted the ballot language and introduced the measure, and has been securing support and endorsements for the ‘Yes on B’ campaign from medical and health groups like the L.A. County Medical Association and the California STD Controllers Association, as well as an editorial endorsement in support of Measure B from La Opinión, the largest Spanish language newspaper in the United States and second-most read paper in Los Angeles. Opposition to the measure comes primarily from pornographers.
Ballot Measure B came about after as many as 22 HIV infections believed to be industry-related were reported in several outbreaks in Los Angeles since 2004, and amidst thousands of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occurring annually among adult performers. The ballot measure also comes at a time when an outbreak of syphilis, a highly contagious but curable STD, is roiling L.A.’s adult film industry and shut down the entire industry for several weeks earlier this summer.
Health Associations Supporting Condom Use in Adult Films
The Los Angeles County Medical Association (LACMA) and The California STD Controllers Association (CSTDCA) are two major health groups that specifically endorsed Los Angeles County Ballot Measure B. However, the Executive Board of CSTDCA, and several other groups and associations previously expressed support for condom use in adult films. These include the American Medical Association, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, American Public Health Association, American Association of STD Controllers, American Public Health Association, the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV and UCLA. These groups called for improved adult film worker safety and enforcement of condom use requirements in adult films.