L.A. City Council Wants to Require Condoms on Porn Sets

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When a pornographic-film performer tested positive for HIV at a Los Angeles porn clinic last October, it shined a light on the lack of oversight of the porn industry. In December, that clinic, which porn producers used to test actors for HIV before filming, was shut down by California’s Department of Public Health.

The clinic was run by the nonprofit Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation, which was created by the porn industry. This month, the clinic reopened as a for-profit enterprise under the jurisdiction of the California Medical Association. (More on TIME.com: Does Men’s ‘Bond’ with Porn Ruin Them for Real-Life Sex?)

But the Los Angeles City Council wants to go further to protect adult-film actors and prevent the rampant spread of sexually transmitted disease — rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea among performers are seven times higher than those in the general population. Last week, City Council members voted unanimously to draft an ordinance that would require porn actors to use condoms on all Los Angeles shoots, according to the New York Times.

Reported the Times’ Ian Lovett:

The Los Angeles law would tie the issuing of film permits to on-set condom use. But it is unclear whether the city has jurisdiction over public health issues.

Even if the law is enacted, city regulators may face similar problems of enforcement that have dogged state occupational safety and health officials. And some filmmakers have grumbled about moving their operations, which bring in as much as $13 billion annually, to other states.

“I tried many years ago to get everybody to go to condoms,” said Jim South, a longtime talent agent for sex-film performers. “Quite a few companies did, but sales fell severely. The switch would be very difficult.”

If the law were enacted, it would be the first to impose safety standards specifically on the porn industry.

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