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AHF consultant McGrath was interviewed recently by Jacob Weis at www.projectwordsworth.com Here’s what McGrath has said on the record about Measure B
McGrath: Measure B is the result of a long history of inadequate workplace protection within this industry. This is a legal industry and we feel with legality comes responsibility; ultimately this boils down to a question of corporate citizenship. The hazardous exposures performs face on the job are well document and reported by labs and clinics to the county department of public health (as required by state law). Therefore, we have a very good understanding of the overall disease burden performers carry and how this compares to the population at-large.
When compared to the general community the cumulative incidence for gonorrhea and chlamydia is as high as 64 and 34 times respectively. When compared to sexually active adults between 18 and 24 (a group that traditionally shows high disease burden), the gonorrhea and chlamydia rates for performers are 8.5 and 16 times higher. Note these rates demonstrate orders of magnitude that are unacceptable from a public health perspective.
Condoms are not only cost-effective but the single most effective way to prevent these infections. Los Angeles residents should care because performers do not simply live in a bubble (i.e. they can be considered core-transmitters and reservoirs). Additionally since this industry fails to provide even a modicum of benefits, the taxpayer ends up covering cost of treatment and long term medical costs.
Data on performer morbidity has been published by Los Angeles County health officials in peer review literature. It is a matter of public record [www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/std/afi.htm ] and available to anyone with an internet connection.
The fact of the matter is that not only is there epidemic levels of infection within the perform community; rates of re-infection within a single year are also unacceptably high. On average 1 in 4 performers will be re-infected with an STD in a single year. For women the rate is even higher: 27 percent will be re-infected within a single year. At a time when our frontline antibiotics for treatment are failing, is the industry’s current model acceptable or sustainable?
Opponents to measure B are simply making ridiculous claims that fail to hold up to scrutiny. The truth of the matter is that young men and women are being made sick for the sake of unrestricted profit. As mentioned above, because labs and the clinics attended by performers are required by law to report an infection within days of diagnosis, we know: 1) the size of the performer population; 2) rates of infection; 3) rates of re-infection. Keep in mind this industry has failed to use testing protocols recommended by health officials (proper screening at all anatomical sites and vaginal swabs for women.
As a result, morbidity is under diagnosed and likely to greatly exceed the high rates described above. One study at a local clinic found the 2/3 of performers had infections missed by the industry’s current testing “protocols.” Many have active oral or rectal infections they are not even aware of.
I have no numbers on performer complaints to Cal/OSHA and Cal/OSHA does not provide this information.
However, the high hazards unit of Cal/OSHA has issued well over 40 serious citations to production companies for health and safety violations.
These are a matter of public record and available for viewing at the Cal/OSHA website. www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/citation.html
Please also see the Cal/OSHA website dedicated to this issue. For example on 3/9/2011, Larry Flint’s company was cited for 3 serous hazards. Since 2004 twenty-five performers are known to have acquired HIV. In the 2010 (Derrick Burts) investigation, only 6 of the 15 people he worked with could be cleared as not having HIV; leaving the status of 9 individuals unknown. Cal/OSHA issued citations for all the production companies located in California that employed Derrick.
The general public should care because performers represent fellow citizens. They are our brothers and sisters and are working in a recognized legal industry. As a matter of corporate citizenship it is unacceptable for pornographers to harvest the young people of this Golden State, knowingly expose them to hazardous and unsanitary conditions, fail to provide cost effective protection, fail to pay for testing as required by state law, and reap a financial benefit at the taxpayers’ expense.
The public is currently subsidizing the porn industry. As the provider of last resort, county health clinics are picking up the tab for medical treatment. Condoms are for all intents and purposes free.