In a newly posted position paper on its website, the American Public Health Association (APHA), the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world representing over 50,000 health professionals and others who work to promote health, prevent disease and ensure conditions in which all can be safe and healthy, has issued a comprehensive policy statement, "Prevention and Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV among Performers in the Adult Film Industry," that includes a series of recommendations intended to foster improved safety and workplace conditions for workers in the adult film industry. In November, members of APHA first voted to issue the policy statement; in the intervening months, APHA officials and members researched, drafted and finalized the statement and recommendations. In its statement and among its key recommendations, APHA noted, "In view of the ongoing, preventable sexual disease transmission in the adult film industry, American Public Health Association (APHA) supports…state and federal regulatory or legislative actions that would require the employer to (a) provide and require the use of condoms in the production of adult films, (b) provide appropriate medical monitoring, and (c) protect the confidentiality of the worker's medical record."
“We thank APHA for contributing its considerable voice to ongoing efforts to improve worker safety on adult film sets through legislative, regulatory and enforcement means and mechanisms.”
APHA now joins AHF, the American Medical Association, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, American Association of STD Controllers, the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV and UCLA in calling for improved adult film worker safety and enforcement of condom use requirements in adult films.
"This well-researched policy statement and related safety recommendations issued by the American Public Health Association this week adds significant weight to ongoing efforts by AHF and other AIDS advocates to improve and protect the health and safety of adult film workers," said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "We thank APHA for contributing its considerable voice to ongoing efforts to improve worker safety on adult film sets through legislative, regulatory and enforcement means and mechanisms."
Since an outbreak of as many as 20 HIV infections in the adult film industry in California several years ago—and the revelation that another adult film performer tested HIV positive last October—AHF and other AIDS advocates including advocates have spearheaded a multipronged campaign to improve worker safety by requiring condom use by adult film actors. As part of the effort, AHF has sued local Los Angeles County public health officials to enforce existing workplace safety regulations; it has lobbied for an overhaul of state workplace safety measures covering adult film sets in both California and Florida (the two largest production centers); it has filed worker safety complaints with state regulators against both adult film producers as well as adult talent agencies, it has sought legislation in Sacramento to more clearly codify adult film safety regulations.
Background on AHF's Adult Film Worker Safety Efforts
AHF's actions were prompted by the two outbreaks of HIV in the industry and an ongoing epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in California's adult film industry. 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.
In view of the ongoing, preventable sexual disease transmission in the adult film industry, American Public Health Association (APHA) issued the following nine recommendations in support of improved worker safety in the adult film industry with its public policy statement posted earlier this week:
- State and federal regulatory or legislative actions that would require the employer to (a) provide and require the use of condoms in the production of adult films, (b) provide appropriate medical monitoring, and (c) protect the confidentiality of the worker's medical record.
- Requirements that adult film production companies maintain records available for inspection with their Custodian of Record that includes their OSHA-compliant or state plan equivalent exposure control plan, documentation that condoms were used in each production, and documentation that worker medical monitoring and health and safety training was provided.
- Requirements that adult film production companies provide employment records to OSHA or their state plan equivalent or any state or local health department in the course of any investigation of workplace injury, illness, or transmission or exposure to an infectious disease.
- Requirements that any clinic or medical provider that provides medical monitoring for an adult film production company collect and provide production company information to OSHA or any state or local health department in the course of any investigation of workplace transmission or exposure to an infectious disease.
- Mandatory labeling at the beginning of each adult film that states that the adult film was produced pursuant to OSHA or the state-plan equivalent requirements.
- Prohibition of the distribution and sales of adult films produced in violation of OSHA or the state-plan equivalent requirements to hotels, cable television content providers and others in commercial settings when condoms were not used by performers.
- Increased federal, state, and local resources that would improve the ability of local health departments, state health departments and OSHA or the state-plan equivalent to investigate and control occupational exposures to infectious diseases and enforce workplace regulations in a timely manner.
- Vigorous enforcement of OSHA occupational standards to reduce exposure to infectious diseases within the adult film industry.
- Change through legislation, if necessary, such that the possession of condoms is not cause for arrest or prosecution.
"This is another tremendous step in the right direction toward protecting the health and safety of adult film workers, and I want to thank APHA officials for their thoughtful and thorough work on this," added AHF's Weinstein. "The adult film industry has steadfastly refused to take any steps to protect its workers from diseases spread by bloodborne pathogens, resulting in thousands of employees becoming infected with sexually transmitted diseases. We need to take the necessary steps to protect performers by providing and enforcing the use of condoms during filming so that actors in adult films enjoy the same public health and workplace protections that all workers should."
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)