Fight over condoms in porn far from over

Fight over condoms in porn far from over

A bill requiring condom use in adult film production stalled in a state Senate committee last week and is probably dust for this legislative season. Don’t think the issue is dead, however. Not when Michael Weinstein is involved.

Weinstein, the pugnacious leader of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, doesn’t give up easily.

Weinstein’s crusade is far from over

On Thursday, after news of the bill’s apparent demise, Weinstein noted that the legislation had made significant progress. Last year, it never got out of committee; this year, it passed in the full Assembly.

Michael Weinstein
The crackdown on condoms has driven the industry underground to avoid enforcement. Underground productions mean less safe working conditions all around, and Weinstein couldn’t quite explain how a statewide condom law would rectify that.

“It’s not going to discourage us,” he told me. “It took a very long time to get needle exchange in California. Almost 20 years.”

What exactly Weinstein wins with the condom fight is not clear. HIV is not a huge issue in adult film production. According to the industry association, there hasn’t been one proven case of on-set transmission in 10 years.

That’s because the industry, and adult film performers, have been policing themselves with regular testing. Understandably, they don’t want to be infected. Porn actors are tested every two weeks, and when one is found to be HIV-positive, production is shut down until the infection is traced.

AB 1576's sponsor, termed-out Assemblymember Isadore Hall, was a puppet of both AHF and big tobacco
AB 1576’s sponsor, termed-out Assemblymember Isadore Hall, was a puppet of both AHF and big tobacco

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