AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has announced that it has filed yet another petition with the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH, or as it’s more commonly known, Cal/OSHA), and according to AHF’s press release on the matter, the agency is required to “report its decision no later than six months following the receipt of such proposal.”
“After taking a number of years to consider our original petition, I appreciate the board’s commitment to revisiting this worker safety proposal in a more timely manner,” said AHF president Michael Weinstein. “We look forward to the opportunity to reopen the discussion with OSHA as well as the industry and anticipate that the board will ultimately vote in favor of protecting the health of adult film workers in California.”
Actually, Cal/OSHA moved forward fairly quickly on AHF’s previous petition, holding several exceptionally contentious public meetings over the course of the past six years to hear commentary from proponents and opponents of requiring the use of condoms in the production of explicit adult content. (The requirement for other “barrier protections” was not the subject of AHF’s earlier petition.)
But that’s just the most recent example of AHF playing fast and loose with the truth; its new petition to the Cal/OSHA Standards Board and Division officers contains several more.
For example, the petition states, “The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has documented an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases among workers in the adult film industry. It attributes the epidemic to a variety of high-risk acts that workers are required to engage in, including ‘pervasive use of ejaculation into the mouth,’ ‘growing use of internal ejaculation with vaginal and anal sex,’ ‘multiple partners over short time periods,’ and ‘double-vaginal and double-anal sex’ (Kim-Farley 2011). Most importantly, the Los Angeles County department of Public Health attributes the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in the adult film industry to a lack of condom use on set.”
There’s just one problem: The Los Angeles Times reported on June 17, 2009, that the County Health Department had retracted its earlier claims of an “epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases,” admitting that it had published incorrect figures regarding the number of HIV cases it had attributed to adult performers, while Dr. Sharon Mitchell, the head of AIM, the adult industry’s then-primary STD testing facility, had reported that, “It’s true, some of those numbers are from performers, but why those figures are so inaccurate is because they were double- and triple-counted. I mean, we report [positive results] almost immediately, because we have the advantage of early-detection testing, and our population comes in and they say, ‘Oh, here are my partners,’ and everyone’s very voluntary in the industry … But oftentimes, people get a little anxious and they want to get back to work faster, and we know that it takes five to six days for the medicine to work, but people will come back and test on the second, third, fourth and fifth day, so they’re counting a lot of the same people for the same exact infection.”
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