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Porn condom use decision could go to LA County Supervisors

Condom packages are seen in this file photo.

July 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Former porn star Darren James hopes his is a fate that won't befall other actors in the porn industry.

"I get a call that I'm HIV positive, and it's the worst feeling in the world. You couldn't even fathom. You couldn't even fathom that thought, like wait a minute, I did everything right," he said.

That's why he's been pushing for a ballot measure requiring producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit that would require their actors to wear condoms while shooting.

"The performers in this industry are not disposable, and they deserve the same protections that people who go to work in any other industry deserve," said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The foundation collected signatures to qualify the measure in L.A. County. A similar measure already passed in the city of L.A.

"The real heart of this issue are sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV, of which there have been thousands," said Weistein.

The Freedom of Speech Coalition has represented some of the adult film companies in the county, saying it's not the government's job to tell consenting adults what to do in bed. Steven Hirsh of Vivid entertainment released a statement Thursday:

"This is yet another example of hard working taxpayers money being spent figuring out how to enforce something that does not exist. We do not believe that this is a public safety or health issue but rather an attempt to regulate an industry that is already self-regulated."

It's a point of view James doesn't agree with.

"The ones saying that, they're not doing the scenes. It's the actors doing the scenes, and we're the ones coming up with the STD infections, and it's not right," he said.

Potential voters have a mixed reaction.

"If there's a chance that you could miss something even with a test and then go to work and still end up catching something, it only makes perfect sense that you would wrap it up," said Gregory Flynn of Van Nuys.

Another voter felt differently.

"If they want to wear condoms or if they don't, I think it's up to them," said Mike Meilander of L.A.

The board of supervisors could take up the issue as soon as Tuesday and adopt it as law, or it could go to L.A. County voters in November.


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