Los Angeles County’s public health director said Tuesday that the San Fernando Valley clinic where a porn actor tested HIV-positive last week has delayed reporting test results to the county, but does not appear to have violated regulations.
By law, local healthcare providers are required to report confirmed HIV tests to the department within seven days. The Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation, known as AIM, had an HIV positive PCR-DNA test Oct. 9, but is still awaiting results of a second Western Blot test from an outside lab, according to Karen Tynan, a lawyer for the Sherman Oaks clinic.
“AIM will provide the report immediately upon receipt from the lab. There has been and there will be no delays,” Tynan said.
Clinic officials released a statement last week saying, “Under law, reporting to Los Angeles County HIV Epidemiology Program can only occur upon the return of a Western Blot test. That test was taken immediately upon the first indication of a potential infection, but the results take one week to return. Los Angeles County does not, and cannot under law, accept any other test results.”
But Public Health Director Jonathan Fielding said the Western Blot test –- a more comprehensive test that generally takes longer for results — is not required and that healthcare providers often report the initial PCR-DNA test results to the department.
“They want to do a Western Blot test to confirm it. We would prefer to have it earlier because obviously there’s a lot of transmission that could occur,” Fielding said. “We need a high level of cooperation to prevent the spread of HIV.”
Fielding questioned why AIM officials quarantined adult performers last week, posting the statement on their website, if they did not think the first test was conclusive.
“Why isn’t it good enough to report to the health department?” he said. “Obviously it’s considered important enough to be actionable. We need to have information as soon as possible.”
Fielding said Tuesday that the department had still not received information from AIM about when the individual tested positive or when the Western Blot test was ordered. He reiterated his position that condom use and safe sex protections for the porn industry need to be enforced by the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
“This is an occupational exposure and we feel strongly that CAL-OSHA needs to assert authority over this kind of situation,” he said. “It’s terrible that people have to put their health and their life in danger through their work.”
Officials from the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation who have pushed for more enforcement of condom use, testing and other safe-sex practices in the porn industry called on Los Angeles County supervisors and the public health department Tuesday to better regulate the clinic and the industry.
“The clinic has not complied with getting the incident of HIV reported to public health officials,” Ged Kenslea, a spokesman for the group, said during the supervisors’ meeting. “This is 10 days and counting.”
Kenslea and two other members of the group asked supervisors to require the sheriff to suspend all new film permits for adult film productions in the county while the HIV case is investigated. Supervisors did not take any action on the issue during the meeting. Last week, members of the group appeared before the Los Angeles City Council to request they suspend permits for filming, but council members said they were unlikely to take action.
— Molly Hennessy-Fiske