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Valley-Based Industry Scrambles to Find New STD Testing System

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from www.laweekly.com – It has been a saga much more juicy than any of porn’s non-plots. Nearly three months after reopening as a private entity, AIM Healthcare, the clinic that tests adult performers for STDs, has shut down and filed for bankruptcy, industry sources confirmed to the Weekly.

We were told a privacy lawsuit challenging AIM’s handling of patient records was the last straw for the clinic that was taken private and reopened in February following a December shutdown at the hands of state and county health officials.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, part of that suit, has been targeting AIM as part of its crusade against the industry’s lack of condom use. Complicating the matter:

The leak of patient records via PornWikiLeaks. Some in the industry have argued that the leak could have only come from someone who had access to AIM’s online database of performers who have been tested.

AIM maintained the database as a service to the industry: A porn star could get tested, and a producer could simply use her password and double check to see that the performer has been cleared to work.

AHF challenged that system, saying it violates patients’ privacy rights. (It appeared that producers could have free reign on the database and check up on anyone, including folks not imminently up for roles).

The sudden shutdown leaves the industry without an STD safety net, which could play into the hands of AHF (you could always use condoms, they would argue).

“It isn’t a good thing for the industry,” Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, told the Weekly.

The FSC is the industry lobby. It held three meetings Friday with industry stakeholders to discuss how to move forward in the absence of AIM, which Duke told us is probably permanent.

“What is important is to make sure that we have not just a testing service in place but also healthcare provider,” she said.

Duke said the industry would like to maintain a similar system of testing — where performers who show up for shoots have verified results on record — but that AIM’s online system could be revised following the PornWikiLeaks scandal.

Performers used to show up on set with a printout of their results. Duke said that’s what will happen until a new clinic is found: Production, she said, won’t shut down, but porn stars will have to show up with printouts of test results, which they can obtain from any certified clinic.

FSC is holding a board meeting tomorrow to decide how to go forward.

“The industry will be fine,” Duke said.

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