Diane Duke on the defeat of AB640: “Thankfully, science won over scare tactics”

from www.dailynews.com – Within weeks after several porn performers tested positive for HIV, a bill to require adult film actors throughout California to use condoms when shooting sex scenes has died in the state Legislature.

AB 640 by Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, would have required porn producers to implement a series of health and safety measures on set to protect performers from sexually transmitted diseases. The measures would include requiring the use of condoms when filming sex scenes, as well as paying for medical testing, training and putting a health protection plan in writing.

After Los Angeles County voters last year approved a similar law at the local level, Measure B, many porn companies said they would film elsewhere in California, prompting the effort by Hall and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to make it statewide.

Within the last month, three porn performers have disclosed they received HIV-positive test results. Two of them were in a relationship with each other and the industry has said it believes the infections did not occur on-set. AHF has said a fourth performer has recently disclosed an HIV-diagnosis, but industry and county officials have not been able to confirm that.

The Free Speech Coalition, a Canoga Park-based industry trade group, applauded the bill’s demise.

“Thankfully, science won over scare tactics,” coalition CEO Diane Duke said in a written statement. “Three performers did test positive for HIV in the past month, but none of them contracted it on an adult set. Politicians tried to use concern about HIV to push through a mandate opposed by both performers and producers.”

But Michael Weinstein, executive director for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, saw it differently.

Last week, AHF targeted San Fernando Valley Assemblyman Mike Gatto for supposedly blocking efforts to pass the bill because an earlier version of the bill, AB 332, died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee that Gatto chairs. The group launched a campaign to robo-call 100,000 households in Gatto’s district. Gatto had said the bill was before the Senate, not him.

Weinstein said the bill would be reintroduced in the new session.

“We expect it to pass,” Weinstein said. “When it was in committee, it had overwhelming support. Public opinion has shifted. The opinion in the community, the opinion among policy makers and performers has gone in the direction of the importance of protection.”

Meanwhile, a bill supported by AHF that would allow the state to hand out condoms inside adult prisons, despite a ban on prison sex, passed the Senate and is awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature.


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