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State to Study Enforcing Condoms in Porn

California approves advisory committee to examine enforcing safe sex rules for adult films

A campaign to mandate condom use in California’s adult film industry moved a step closer to victory Thursday.

The seven-member Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board unanimously recommended that an advisory committee be formed to investigate whether to broaden workplace safety rules to include adult film sets.

The move followed testimony by nearly a dozen former porn actors and public health professionals in favor of a petition by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to change laws governing the adult film industry. Among those testifying about the dangers of unprotected sex on adult film sets were former porn stars Shelley Lubben and Madelyne Hernandez, as well as porn producer Dave Pounder.

"This was a game-changer," Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, told TheWrap. "The board swept aside the objections of the industry and took to heart the compelling testimony of industry performers who spoke about being coerced into working without condoms, sometimes at cost to their health."

Adult film star Angelina Armani and representatives from the industry’s trade association, the Free Speech Coalition, including Executive Director Diane Duke, spoke in favor of more lax regulations regarding condom use. Among the concerns they cite is that further restrictions would only encourage the porn industry to move out of state or operate underground and illegally.

Both camps, however, supported the formation of an advisory committee.

Any move to require the adult industry to institute widespread condom use among its performers still faces more hurdles, and could take as much as two years. The advisory committee still needs to be formed and there is no deadline for when a decision needs to be reached. The advisory board can accept or reject the AIDS Healthcare Foundaton’s petition or suggest changes.

"It’s the beginning of a long process," said Erika Monterroza, a spokesperson for Cal-OSHA, told TheWrap. "It’s clearly an issue that merits further review."

The porn industry trade association did not immediately return calls for comment, but in a press release Duke stated that she hoped than any advisory committee would include a "responsible" representative of the adult film community and that any regulations would be "workable."

"A process has begun that can finally address blood-borne pathogen standards in an industry appropriate way," Duke said in a statement.

In addition to requiring that performers wear condoms, supporters of more stringent laws are also calling for safety training and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.