Porn Stars Must Now Wear Condoms

A new Los Angeles law requires adult film actors to protect themselves from HIV transmission.

A new Los Angeles law demands that porn actors wear condoms. (Photo: Getty Images)
Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.

The multibillion-dollar porn industry got a major wake-up call on Tuesday when the Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of a law mandating that condoms be worn on adult film sets.

The law is a groundbreaking victory for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, an HIV care and advocacy organization that has spent years fighting for this legislation. "It's a great day for the performers and safer sex in our society," Michael Weinstein, president of the foundation, said in a statement.

While adult film stars get tested often, according to the Los Angeles Times, several porn stars have been infected with HIV in recent years. Two of these HIV-positive actor-turned-advocates—Darren James and Derrick Burts—now support the use of condoms on porn sets.

In the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.2 million people are living with HIV and one in five are unaware they are infected. STDs are also spreading like wildfire. The CDC estimates there are 19 million new infections every year in the U.S., making sexually-transmitted diseases one of the most critical health challenges facing the nation today.

The condom mandate will go into effect in 90 days. Exactly how it will be implemented has yet to be worked out. However, we know the law will allow the Los Angeles Police Department to drop in on movie sets after a film permit is issued.

Over 80 percent of adult films are made in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, and it's safe to say this law has not been well-received by many porn companies.

The Los Angeles Times reports, Diane Duke, of the porn industry lobbying group Free Speech Coalition, said, "This is government overreach. It's not about performer health and safety; it's about government regulating what happens between consenting adults."

There is talk of moving the adult film industry away from Los Angeles, but according to Michael Weinstein, this is a far-fetched idea.

“They’d hardly be welcomed in West Virginia or Utah or Mississippi, or even a place like Nevada, where legal prostitution is highly regulated and condoms are required," Weinstein said to The New York Times.

If they do move, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation will follow. According to Reuters, the organization is now pushing for a November ballot initiative that would require adult film producers to obtain health permits.

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