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Porn industry clinic takes anti-HIV steps

The Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation, reacting to a case disclosed last week, says it's increasing database controls and urging producers to not accept paper test results from performers.

June 16, 2009|Kimi Yoshino

In an effort to prevent the possible spread of HIV in the adult film industry, the San Fernando Valley-based health clinic that serves the porn industry said Monday it is stepping up controls in its online database and urging producers not to accept paper copies of test results.

The move came as production companies expressed concern that they could be unknowingly filming actors and actresses who were quarantined after last week's disclosure that a female adult film performer had tested positive for HIV.

"If you do not see a name of a person you wish to shoot on the [test results database], don't use them, or at least call our office," said Sharon Mitchell, co-founder of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation, in a statement released Monday. She also said not to rely on paper certificates, "even if it looks like an original."

Much of the confusion has involved the time line of the latest case, including when initial positive results came in and why the woman, who last performed June 5, continued to work without a current negative test.

Dr. Colin Hamblin, the clinic's medical director, said Monday that he was mistaken last week when he said that the first HIV-positive test for the performer came back June 4. Hamblin said that although the woman was tested June 4, her first positive test result was not returned to the clinic until June 6.

Regardless, clinic officials have maintained that under the industry's 30-day testing policy, she should not have worked June 5 because her last negative test was April 29.

"Someone let her work," Hamblin said. Either she "or the company made a mistake. It's really the responsibility of the production company. If they keep on doing this, they're going to end up with legislation up the wazoo."

Mitchell, speaking to The Times about the case for the first time, said the clinic's protocols were followed "to the T."

"It's our job to test people to make sure they're healthy and informed about the risks they're taking upon entering the adult film industry," she said. "It's not our job to tell anyone whether they can work."

Mitchell also said she had no idea what the source was for numbers released last week by Los Angeles County health officials indicating that there had been 16 unpublicized cases of HIV in adult film performers since five were reported by her clinic in 2004. She said she is confident any HIV cases reported since then by her clinic involved no active performers. --

kimi.yoshino@latimes.com

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