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AHF Calls on the Florida Dogs – Fla Health Dept. Investigating Porn Safety Complaints in Sunshine State

LOS ANGELES –The Florida Department of Health has begun an investigation of ‘sanitary nuisance’ health complaints filed with the Department by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) over the lack of use of condoms in films produced by Florida’s fast growing adult film industry.

Three representatives from AHF filed the public health complaints in February as part of AHF’s ongoing campaign to require the use of condoms in the production of adult films in an effort to reduce the spread of STDs including HIV.

In a letter dated June 3, 2010, the Chief Legal Counsel for the Florida Department of Health advised that he was “…in receipt of your (AHF’s) letter dated February 12, 2010 …and that my office has begun an investigation into this matter.”

“We thank Florida’s Department of Health for opening an investigation into AHF’s sanitary nuisance public health complaints regarding the unsafe sexual activity taking place at workplaces in the adult film industry in Florida”

In February, AHF submitted sanitary nuisance complaints to state health officials based on its submission of 10 DVDs of adult films shot in Florida and/or produced by four (4) different adult film production companies in or operating in Florida.

All ten adult DVDs submitted in support of AHF’s complaints were shot without any of the performers using condoms and each documented the unprotected exchange of bodily fluids.

“We thank Florida’s Department of Health for opening an investigation into AHF’s sanitary nuisance public health complaints regarding the unsafe sexual activity taking place at workplaces in the adult film industry in Florida,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

“We previously have focused much of our campaign for adult film worker safety and condoms use by targeting the industry and health officials in California. In light of the tremendous growth of adult film industry in Florida, and in response to the repeated threats from California producers who say they will leave California and take their productions—and jobs—to other states, including Florida, AHF expanded its adult film worker safety campaign to include Florida. This is why we filed these ‘sanitary nuisance’ complaints with Florida health officials: to press for the enforcement health statutes which we believe should require the use of condoms in all adult films produced in Florida, California and elsewhere.”

In August 2009, AHF filed similar adult film worker safety complaints against 16 California adult film production companies with Cal/OSHA, California’s workplace health and safety regulatory agency. AHF supported its Miami complaints—which were filed under Florida ‘sanitary nuisance’ statutes (as the State of Florida does not have a designated occupational safety and health division) with 10 adult DVDs and additional internet streamed videos filmed or produced in the Miami area in which many performers do not wear condoms. The Miami-Dade complaints assert that the films demonstrate unsafe—potentially life-threatening—behavior in a Florida workplace, as the sexual acts filmed without participating performers wearing condoms depict the unprotected exchange of bodily fluids.

Last week, AHF savored two victories in its ongoing battle to improve worker safety on adult film sets.

First the American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates voted during the group’s annual meeting in Chicago “…to support legislation to require porn actors to use condoms on-screen.”

Later in the week, AHF officials learned that officials from the US Department of Health and Human Services has opened an investigation of the Adult Industry Medical (AIM) HealthCare Foundation, a Los Angeles area HIV testing clinic funded by and serving the adult film industry. The federal investigation is focused on alleged privacy breaches of clinic patients and adult film actors whose health information was routinely released to producers in the adult industry. In its complaint to HHS filed earlier this year, AHF officials asserted AIM’s release of clinic patient data on HIV and STD infections via an online database violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other federal and state laws.

Unlike California or the federal government, the State of Florida does not have a specifically designated occupational safety and health division.

However, there is a “sanitary nuisance” law in the Florida Statutes. AHF believes that unprotected sex in a commercial setting should, arguably, fall under the definition of a “sanitary nuisance,” since Florida law defines it as “any act” that may cause disease.

386.01 Sanitary nuisance.–A sanitary nuisance is the commission of any act, by an individual, municipality, organization, or corporation, or the keeping, maintaining, propagation, existence, or permission of anything, by an individual, municipality, organization, or corporation, by which the health or life of an individual, or the health or lives of individuals, may be threatened or impaired, or by which or through which, directly or indirectly, disease may be caused.

386.02 Duty of Department of Health.–The Department of Health, upon request of the proper authorities, or of any three responsible resident citizens, or whenever it may seem necessary to the department, shall investigate the sanitary condition of any city, town, or place in the state; and if, upon examination, the department shall ascertain the existence of any sanitary nuisance as herein defined, it shall serve notice upon the proper party or parties to remove or abate the said nuisance or, if necessary, proceed to remove or abate the said nuisance in the manner provided in s. 823.01.

As such, three “responsible resident citizens” filed complaints with the Florida Department of Health asking them to investigate a sanitary nuisance—unprotected sex taking place on adult film productions in the state.

There is also a Miami-Dade County “sanitary nuisance” law as well (Miami-Dade County Municipal Ordinances Chapter 26A). It uses a similar definition of “sanitary nuisance” as the state law, and it provides for the Director of the Dade County Department of Public Health to investigate such so called nuisances.

Background DVD & Internet Materials for ‘Sanitary Nuisance’ Complaints:

In support of ‘sanitary nuisance’ complaints asserting that film sets where condoms are not used provide unsafe Florida work environments, AHF officials undertook a review and analysis of adult films produced and/or distributed by the industry. DVDs supporting the health complaints regarding these Florida film sets were submitted with the formal complaints. Among AHF’s findings:

* 10 adult entertainment (porn) DVDs purchased;
* 4 production and/or distribution companies represented;
* “South Beach Cruisin’ #2” a 2 DVD film by Miami-based Josh Stone Productions, consists of six scenes shot in and around Miami (several, outdoors by the water with the Miami skyline in the background). None of the performers in the six scenes use condoms.
* “Barely Legal: Miami Girls,” produced by Beverly Hills-based Larry Flynt’s Hustler Video, touts that the film was “Shot on Location” and includes five scenes, all with NO condom use.

Following is a list of the production and distribution companies represented in AHF’s industry analysis:

PRODUCTION/DISTRIBUTION Companies

Location of ‘Custodian of Records’ for Companies

Bang Bros Films Miami, FL
Hustler Video Beverly Hills, CA
Josh Stone Productions Miami, FL
Reality Kings Productions Miami, FL

History of AHF’s Advocacy for Condom Use in Porn Films

Since the June 17th 2009 reporting of the latest HIV outbreak in the adult film industry in California—and the subsequent reporting by the LA Times that as many as 22 porn performers may have tested positive in the last five years—with little or no action being taken by County officials to halt the spread of STDs on LA porn sets or to conduct the proper and legally required public health follow-up with those thought to be infected—AHF has stepped up its ongoing campaign to require the use of condoms in adult films. Actions have included:

* Targeting key industry players like Hustler’s founder Larry Flynt with protests at his Sunset Strip retail store;
* Pressing Los Angeles County political and health officials to comply with current law as far as legal reporting of HIV and STD cases—including those found among performers in the industry—and to require the use of condoms on adult film sets in LA County;
* Filing a lawsuit the County of Los Angeles to achieve this aim.
* AHF and Pink Cross Foundation also filed 16 workplace safety complaints with Cal OSHA based on unsafe sexual acts depicting the exchange of bodily fluids filmed in unprotected sex acts; and
* Hosting a ‘porn in’ at a Los Angeles area Marriott Hotel to highlight the millions of dollars national hotel chains earn off of unsafe porn on their pay-per-view hotel channels.
* Lobbying for California legislation that would mandate the use condoms by actors performing in films produced by the California industry. AHF believes such an adult film worker bill should be drafted as a worker safety provision of California’s Labor Code akin to how the Labor Code currently requires the use of hard hats and other garments and barriers as safely precautions on certain California work sites and locations.

Background on AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Florida

In Florida, AIDS Healthcare Foundation serves more than 15,000 people living with HIV/AIDS through a variety of programs, including Positive Healthcare (a statewide disease management program), Positive Healthcare Managed Care, testing and prevention programs, as well as healthcare centers in Jacksonville, Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the US’ largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 137,000 individuals in 23 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and the Asia Pacific Region. www.aidshealth.org

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