AIDS Group Files Porn Film Condom Use Complaint

Files occupational safety complaint over non-use of condoms in porn industry.

ByABC News
June 11, 2009, 1:13 PM

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 20, 2009 — -- The AIDS Healthcare Foundation said Thursday that it's filing complaints with the California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health over the non-use of condoms in the porn industry.

The foundation's complaint, which stems from a June 17 report about a Southern California porn actress who tested positive for HIV, targets 16 production companies that are based in the Los Angeles area, the epicenter of the U.S. adult video industry.

"As I continued to do hardcore porn, I started catching STDs all the time," said Michelle Avanti, a former porn actress and member of the Pink Cross Foundation, which offers support for adult industry workers. "My lower body hurt so badly and at times my private area felt like it was a blazing fire. I could no longer work because I caught so many STDs and infections. I believe that if condoms had been allowed to be used in my own films, I would not have suffered so many physical ailments and infections."

The Los Angeles Times has reported that as many as 22 porn film performers have tested positive for HIV in the last five years. The news reignited concerns that the adult entertainment industry is not protecting actors from the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

The health department says there were 2,013 documented cases of Chlamydia among LA porn performers between 2003 and 2007 and 965 gonorrhea cases. From April 2004 to March 2008 some 2,847 STD infections were diagnosed among 1,884 performers in the hardcore industry in LA County.

"By recommending, but not requiring, condom use on porn film sets, Los Angeles County has basically abdicated its responsibility to perform its main function -- which is to protect the public health," said Whitney Engeran-Cordova, director of the foundation's Public Health Division.

The group says it has identified more than 60 videos recently filmed in the state in which the actors do not use condoms.