Advertisement
 
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsNews

Porn trade group to revive performer STD database

Adult Performer Health and Safety Services launches this week and expects to have a complete list of performers' test results later this year.

July 27, 2011|By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times
  • Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, the adult entertainment industry's nonprofit trade association, announces the formation of the program Adult Production Health and Safety Services.
Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, the adult… (Reed Saxon / AP Photo )

A San Fernando Valley-based porn trade group plans to revive a controversial database that tracks adult performers' sexually transmitted disease test results.

As of Friday, the new database, Adult Performer Health and Safety Services, will provide porn producers and agents with access to results from numerous testing facilities, according to Diane Duke, executive director of the Canoga Park-based Free Speech Coalition, which created the database. Duke estimates it will be at least two months before testing of performers is complete and the database is fully functional.

"We're vetting different sites and talking to them about how our performers should be treated, making sure the quality is there, that the standards are there," Duke said.

Adult film performers must be tested every 30 days and show proof of a clean test before they perform, according to voluntary industry standards.

AIM Medical Associates P.C. had been operating the industry's database of test results before it closed in May while fighting a lawsuit that alleged it revealed performers' private medical information.

The new database will tell producers and agents only whether performers are available for work, not their specific test results as AIM had done, Duke said.

Duke said the AIM clinic, formerly known as Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation,, closed for financial reasons.

AIM officials, who opened the Sherman Oaks-based clinic in 1998, had also drawn criticism for opposing condom use in porn and insisting that frequent tests could protect performers from HIV. They continued to defend their position even after performer Derrick Burts tested HIV positive at AIM last year.

Adding to the controversy, earlier this year information from AIM's database was posted online by Pornwikileaks, a website designed to identify porn performers.

Duke said computer experts affiliated with her group worked with the FBI's Los Angeles office to disable Pornwikileaks this month, and that the new database has been built to prevent such leaks. An FBI spokeswoman said she could not comment about the site.

Since AIM closed, porn performers have been bringing paper copies of their test results to film sets, a system that Duke said was unreliable.

"People can play with those numbers, alter the paper versions," she said. "Our database will provide a backup, an assurance that producers can check to see if someone is available to perform."

Duke said an advisory council of producers, performers, agents, worker safety and medical consultants will ensure that test sites "live up to expectations."

She said she emailed Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Los Angeles County's public health chief, to alert him about the database. She said she looked forward to working with county officials but will defend the privacy of performers, as AIM officials attempted to do. After Burts tested positive, for instance, AIM officials delayed reporting test results to the county even after his case was reported in the Los Angeles Times.

"We're going to be very protective of our performers' rights," Duke said.

A spokesman for Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has been critical of AIM, said the group opposes the database because it is being offered as a substitute for condoms.

"The Free Speech Coalition continues to maintain that testing is a safety net. That, we disagree with," said Michael Weinstein, the foundation's president.

Foundation officials sued Los Angeles County in 2009 to compel health officials to mandate condom use by porn performers but lost on appeal this month. On Monday, the group appealed to the California Supreme Court.

molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|