A sexual health clinic in the San Fernando Valley the Hollywood of pornography has been denied a license to operate as a community clinic by California's Department of Public Health, according to the Los Angeles Times.<
The clinic, which is run by the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM), is used by straight-porn producers to test actors for sexually transmitted diseases before filming. So, why would the state want to hamper a service that helps keep HIV out of the porn community? (More on Time.com: 5 Little-Known Truths About American Sex Lives)
Many onlookers say it has to do with an October 2010 incident in which a "crossover" porn performer who participated in both gay and straight porn tested positive for HIV at AIM. He has since criticized the care he received at the clinic.
The actor, Derrick Burts, says AIM does not look after actors who participate in both gay and straight porn. As Healthland previously noted, the convention on gay-porn sets is to use condoms as a safeguard against HIV; straight-porn actors do not use condoms, and instead rely on routine HIV testing to ensure negative-status. (More on Time.com: Too Many One-Night Stands? Blame Your Genes)
The L.A. Times reports that Burts was led to believe the accepted rules would keep him safe:
"They fill your head with all this stuff and tell you the testing will protect you," he said Wednesday during an emotional news conference at the Hollywood headquarters of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, where he sought help after growing disappointed in AIM's care.
The L.A. Times reports further that porn producers and actors are growing increasingly concerned about health risks, especially those associated with crossover actors:
Donny Long, a former porn actor who runs the XXXfilmjobs website, said testing is not enough to protect performers in straight films from the risks taken by men who also work in gay porn. At the same time, he said, mandating condoms would drive straight porn production underground.
But Chi Chi LaRue, a longtime Los Angeles-based porn director, said the straight porn industry would be best protected by expanding condom use. LaRue left Vivid Entertainment when it stopped using condoms, and now requires condom use at the gay porn company she co-owns. LaRue said testing provides the illusion of protection in straight porn.
"I consider every single person that I work with, whether gay or straight, to be a risk," she said. "So I protect everybody on my sets."
The AIM clinic was informed in June 2010 by the Department of Public Health that it would need a license to continue operation. (More on Time.com: Study: Making Pornography More Accessible May Curb Child Abuse)
The organization had begun its testing program voluntarily, in order to avoid state regulation, which now seems inevitable. It is clear that public health officials are concerned about AIM's rigor in reporting HIV-positive performers:
AIM officials have not notified Los Angeles County public health officials that any performer tested HIV-positive since Patient Zeta [Burts], said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county's public health director.
"Of course, we're in a position where we're relying on them for reporting," Fielding said of AIM, adding that he was "very concerned" because the clinic has not cooperated in supplying information about its quarantine to public health officials.