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California safety board rejects stricter enforcement of condoms in porn films

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The Cal/OSHA board is rejecting stricter enforcement of condoms in porn films. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Cal/OSHA and the porn industry debated the issue of mandatory condom use Thursday. Performers say they already follow strict guidelines to protect themselves against infectious diseases and in the end, Cal/OSHA agreed.

The Cal/OSHA safety board was expected to update its mandatory use of condoms within the adult film industry, but to everyone's surprise the board voted it down.

It was the AIDS Healthcare Foundation that wanted new measures.

Ged Kenslea from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation said some of those measures were "regular onsite inspection, just drop by whenever. They need to be certain they have the safety notices posted, they need to be sure they have the bowl with the condoms available and visible on set."

"When I performed I wore condoms. It was my choice, it was my preference, but I don't think it's fair that they need to force that on everybody," performer Stefanos Tiziano said.

Board members heard more than five hours of testimony from those who said audiences won't accept condoms in porn films. The board was told the requirement would force the industry underground.

That industry says it already has strict measures in place to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

"We test at this point every two weeks for a whole panel of tests and there has not been one single HIV transmission on a porn set that follow these protocols since they were implemented," Ela Darling from the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee said.

California and New Hampshire are the only states that allow adults films to be made legally. Most performers claim that tighter regulations would cripple the porn industry here in California.

Representatives of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation said at least six adult performers have become infected with HIV while working in the adult film industry since 2009, when the organization submitted its petition to Cal/OSHA. But, Joseph Smyser, a policy expert for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said those numbers don't show a trend when taken in the context of the thousands of adult entertainment performers in the industry.

"I would like to see more evidence that this industry is creating an environment that's inherently more risky than other environments experienced by the general population," Smyser said. "I don't see that from the preponderance of evidence."

"It's going to push everyone away and the people that can't move, people like me, I'm going to lose my job," performer Kevin Quintero said.

Others feared that Cal/OSHA will someday demand that goggles and gloves be mandatory -- something health care workers have to use when exposed to blood.

"It makes it so that we can't make a competitive product. It makes it so that we don't actually create the content that is the job that we are doing," Darling said.

But in the end, Cal/OSHA sided with the porn industry, for now.

The Associated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report.

Related Topics:
healthpornographysafetysexentertainmentcal OSHAlawsAIDSHIVLos AngelesCaliforniaSan FranciscoSacramento
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