Should Porn Stars Be Required to Wear Condoms?

  Right now, condoms show up less in porn than - well, pretty much anything -- but the AIDS Healthcare Foundation is working to change that. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced Monday an initiative to require all adult film performers to wear condoms, in order to obtain Los Angeles city film permits.  Local AIDS activists hope to put the measure on LA's June 2012 ballet. To do so, they need 41,138 qualifying signatures (15% of all votes cast in the last mayoral election) by December 23, the LA Times said. 

The law could be a big break through for porn stars, many of whom contract STDs while working in the industry.  Despite multiple-sex-acts-with-multiple-partners' omnipresence in porn, safe sex is hardly - if ever - featured in adult entertainment.

Derrick Burts and Daren James, two ex porn stars who contracted AIDS while in the business, shared their stories with the LA Times.  While their revelations should not come as a surprise to anyone who has seen even the tiniest amount of porn,  they shed light on an issue - and an industry - where stigmatization leads to ignorance, and dangers pile-up from our inability to push safety onto anything considered immoral. 

In a disclosure of the porn industry's blasé approach to safe sex, Burts said this to the LA Times:

"My first month I came up with three STDs in a short period of time. I have herpes and that’s something I have forever. It’s not just HIV. My agent told me, when I told him I had herpes, 'Well, you might as well continue doing porn, because everybody has it.' That’s the mindset. They don’t care about the safety of performers."

There is speculation that passing a law requiring porn actors to wear condoms would push the industry underground, but porn is largely "underground" as it is, with amateur stars and websites constantly popping up on the internet. At the very least, mandating condom use would provide a pathway for porn workers to continue with their professions, while acting safely.  Not mandating condom use, on the other hand, may make finding safe sex work all the more difficult.


AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at August 16, 2011, 10:54am