Council Votes to Seek State Law to Mandate Condom Use in Films

Updated: 05/25/2011 10:54:45 PM PDT

The City Council asked Wednesday that state and county officials allow Los Angeles to make the use of condoms on adult-film sets a condition of getting a film permit.

By a 10-0 vote, the council asked for state legislation that would empower the city to impose the condition as a way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

“This is something I have sought for a long time,” said Councilman Paul Koretz, who introduced a similar measure when he served in the state Assembly. “I held hearings on this when I was in the Legislature and, while it becomes complicated, it is a good first step.”

Councilman Richard Alarcón, who chairs the Jobs and Business Development Committee, said he is looking to develop an overall policy on condom use in the adult film industry.

The AIDS Health Care Foundation has been urging the city to take action on the issue. Brian Chase, the group’s assistant general counsel, said the purpose is to deal with the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

“The industry has refused to implement common sense protection,” Chase said. “If it was required in the permits issued by the city, it would go a long way in preventing sexually transmitted diseases.”

Tom Hymes, a senior editor at AVN Media Network, said it has been a major issue in the industry for some time. The debate heated up after the state last year forced the closure of the AIM Medical Clinic in Sherman Oaks, which worked with

adult performers.

“Clearly, the industry is not for this move and the result of it would be that more productions would go underground to the extent they are able to do that,” Hymes said. “It is my understanding that the inspectors could come in only if there is a complaint.

“This is taken very seriously by the industry, but it is something not really understood well by the general public. The incidents of sexually transmitted disease have been lower in the industry than the general population.”

Also, testing has become more difficult now that AIM is closed, industry experts said.

Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, which is holding a meeting in Studio City today on issues such as the proposed regulations, said the adult industry has been successful in preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

“The issue of mandatory condoms has come before the state Legislature a number of times and has failed,” Duke said. “It is absurd to be wasting the council’s time and resources on an issue that is currently under consideration by the state.”

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