Why I Think We Have The Right To Choose by Alia Janine

On September 13, 2012, in Op-Ed, by adultbizlaw

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various contributors on this web site does not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of AdultBizLaw.com and Michael Fattorosi nor should they be considered legal advice.

Reprinted with permission. As first published on September 12, 2012 at http://aliajanine.com/2012/09/12/why-i-think-we-have-the-right-to-choose/

This is something I wrote back in June of 2011 after attending one of the Cal/OSHA meetings. I didn’t have my awesome blog that I have now so I posted it in different forums like Adult DVD Talk and FreeOnes.com. After this meeting I remember feeling very disturbed by Cal/OSHA and the AIDS HealthCare Foundation as a whole for even fathoming trying to control something like the Adult Industry the way that they wanted too. I thought they were crazy fascist, that this couldn’t be happening in this day of age, in America nonetheless, I still do.

I wrote this after looking up state statues, laws, and Supreme Court rulings trying to find some answers that I knew were there. I was more concerned for the complete disregard of our First Amendment rights then the debate on if we were independent contractors or employees, as you’ll read. But after some more research, talking with my buddy Michael Fattorosi, and a little common sense I couldn’t really fight the fact that performers are not independent contractors. At the time it seemed like a logical explanation to me (and everyone else) because that’s the reason Cal/OSHA was involved. If we weren’t “employees” they could never regulate the way they wanted to, but we are employees and they can regulate, but not to the extreme measures that they want. Anyways, this what I had to say over a year ago…..

Written June 10, 2011 5:16am.

*Yesterday I attend the Cal/OSHA Advisory Committee Meeting on barrier control protocol in the Adult Industry. Now if any of you have been following this story in the news you should know what’s going on. But, for those that don’t here’s a short briefing; Cal/OSHA came up with a 17 page draft of proper barrier controls, definitions, and procedures for the Adult Industry. Mind you, barrier controls have been in place since the early 90s but due to recent events and formal complaints from the AHF they’re stepping up enforcements and trying to make new regulations.

Why does Cal/OSHA get to regulate what happens on a porn set like they can a hospital or construction site? Because apparently all adult performers are consider “employees” and all production companies “employers”. We’re consider “employees” because of the state’s definition of what an employee/employer is. Regardless, if performers are incorporated within themselves, pay taxes as a self employed person or business owner, or the fact that most performers work with multiple companies. You need to understand that if we were considered independent contractors, as many of us consider ourselves, they would have no control over what we do on a porn set. All they have is the states definition of what an employee/employer is.

There’s so much more that goes with that but that’s not what I want to discuss. Because honestly, even with the states definition of an “employee” I still believe they are in violation of our 1st Amendment right to free speech/expression.

Let’s start from the very beginning-

  • Our 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law “respecting an establishment of religion”, impeding the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.
  • Pornography fits under freedom of speech and freedom of expression. It clearly states that it includes sexual expression.
  • The state of California defines hardcore pornography as; Hardcore pornography commonly includes explicit depictions of sex acts such as vaginal or anal penetration, cunnilingus, fellatio and ejaculation and/or extreme fetish acts.
  • The Supreme Court ruling in California VS Freeman in 1989 legalized pornography. (With the states definition of what pornography)
  • Our 1st Amendment also states that: “federal and lower government may not apply “prior restraint” to expression with certain exceptions such as national security and obscenity.”
  • It is not obscene to show genitals in sexual acts. We have the Miller VS California Supreme Court ruling (The Miller Test) to prove that the majority of what we do is not obscene.
  • Prior restraint or prior censorship is censorship in which certain material may not be published or communicated, rather than not prohibiting publication but making the publisher answerable for what is made known. Prior restraint prevents the censored material from being heard or distributed at all; other measures provide sanctions only after the offending material has been communicated, such as suits for slander or libel.

So if Cal/OSHA is forcing us to use any and all types of barrier protection, how is that not censoring us from being able to fully express ourselves sexually? Also, how is wearing barriers not forcing us to produce and distribute fraudulent products? Can it also be said that they are in violation of the Due Process Clause of our 14th Amendment? And of our Universal Human Right Laws? Considering that everyone in Adult Industry that was at the meeting got shut down anytime we brought up valid disputes or ideas against/for their proposal, I would say yes. They were unfair, unrealistic, and have absolutely no idea about how our industry works and they don’t care.

My thoughts; I don’t care if Im consider an employee or not. I know that my 1st Amendment right gives me the right to sexually express myself, in the legal state definition of pornography. By forcing me to use barriers they are violating my rights by censoring me and not allowing me fully express myself in the way that I want to. And by not allowing me and other industry members to have any say with what we can do with our own bodies, sexual expressions, our income, and our livelihood, is denying us Due Process.

I got everything from Wikipedia. So, if I can spend a few hours online doing some research and can find all of this, why is Cal/OSHA (and we’ll even throw in the AHF) still so hell bent on ‘protecting’ our industry? Well to me and many other industry members, they are being discriminatory against our industry for what we do. With the law clearly stating we’re in our legal rights how are they not?*

To me it’s not about having to wear or not wear condoms, it’s about having the right to choose what we think is best for OUR bodies, OUR expression, OUR livelihood. Yes, I believe that everything needs to be regulated to a certain extent, I think that there needs to more rules set into place (like requiring everyone to get the proper vaccinations if applicable), I think there needs to be more education about STIs (EVERYWHERE), but trying to force and control something upon anyone the way the AHF is trying to impose on the government to do to the Adult Industry is just plain Un-American to me.

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Two Degrees of Mr. Marcus by Charity Bangs

On September 8, 2012, in Op-Ed, by adultbizlaw

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various contributors on this web site does not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of AdultBizLaw.com and Michael Fattorosi nor should they be considered legal advice.

You may follow Charity Bangs on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/charitybangs

The Mr. Marcus incident has been one that has impacted us all.  Even if you’ve never met the guy, or performed with him, you probably sat back and thought, hey, I bet I’ve slept with someone, or had close contact  with someone who HAS slept with him.  After all, this is a small group of individuals we like to call our industry, and we all know what happens when you try to find someone that’s beyond six degrees of Kevin Bacon. I’ll bet none of us are more that two degrees away from Mr. Marcus.

Now I’ve been purposely holding off on writing an article on this matter because I find it annoying when people speak about matters to which they don’t have a proper amount of information, and while I have far from ALL the information about this matter, I do feel like I’m now informed enough to form an educated opinion.

Now here are the assumptions I am making based off all the information that’s been put out.

First, Mr Marcus, at some point before TTS started testing for syphilis, did contract it.

Secondly, due to whatever reason, TTS in June, added syphilis to the standard panel, I am throwing out an educated guess here that it had something to do with the outbreak that was starting in europe.

Next, Mr Marcus receives a test that includes a positive syphilis result, now only he knows how much treatment he had leading up to that point, or what his confidential medical advice was, but the simple facts are he received a positive test.

Next, that test is altered so that he can continue to work.

Finally, he is caught, and the finger pointing begins

So here we are, in an industry that has unprotected sex with each other  (for now), and within our group, someone has, or had a STD that they felt they had to hide.  After all, we’re not talking about Chlamydia or  Gonorrhea, we’re talking about syphilis.  The finger pointers have all used this incident to try and push their own agendas, some say it’s Mr.  Marcus’s fault, some say it’s TTS’s fault, some say it’s the producers/directors that he shot with fault, and they’re all right,  there’s enough blame to go, but we’ll get to blame later.

First let’s discuss what we have to lose, our lives.  That was easy, doesn’t get much more dreadful than that right? OUR LIVES!  After all, most of us are two degrees away from Mr. Marcus, and had this been a more deadly STD, or worse, something new, we’d all be caught up in the net right now.  Like tuna about to be pulled up into a boat to die.  Great, now that we all realize we are gambling with, our lives, we can hopefully understand the severity of not specifically THIS incident, but the position we’re all in to be caught up in a much worse incident if we  don’t do something.

So what do we do?  Well that’s an answer that some people would need 100 pages to answer, and here’s the kicker, almost all those answers have an agenda behind them, someone that wants to profit from the answer, someone that wants to gain power from the answer, or someone that wants to control information from the answer.  Guys and gals, please, PLEASE know that those people don’t care about you, they don’t care about me, they only care about increasing whatever it is they want to gain.  And by blindly following any of those bodies you’re only enabling them, and for what, one scene? one sale? one bit of a thought that you’re in their good graces? Is that really worth your life?

Back to what the answer is.  The answer is understanding that your actions, my actions, everyone’s actions impact the entire industry, as we’re all no more than two degrees away from each other.  Because of that, if you want to enter this industry, you need to give up certain rights that were designed for those who do NOT have jobs who impact such a group. You heard me right, giving up rights.  After all, when you join the military, you give up a ton of rights, when you get a job you give up certain rights, hell, even people in positions such as athletes and politicians give up rights as a prerequisite for doing their job. Let’s use a football player as an example.  He goes out to practice one day and gets a horrible headache, he’s then seen by the team doctor.  That doctor then diagnoses the player with some life threatening condition that means he’ll never play football again.  You think the player can just tell the doctor, “Don’t tell the team that, I’ll just keep playing with it”.  No, the doctor must inform the team, and the team then determines, “Hey, this player is not in any medical condition to be playing this sport”.  As much as it sucks, when certain things happen to us, mainly the contraction of STD’s occur, we are in no condition to continue in this industry.  It sucks, yes, but it’s something we need to realize before, or when we enter.

Well, how do we enact this?  Simple, to be considered a performer, you have to waive your right to secrecy when it comes to STD’s.  Now that’s not saying when someone gets a positive test we blast it on twitter, but we can come up with a, probably quite small, notification list, of companies/directors, agents, treatment doctors, and owners that could be notified on a positive result.  Those on the notification list can even be asked to sign some sort of NDA to where they cannot leak this information.  This list is then used to determine who was exposed as a result of this positive test, and how best to notify those exposed.  That’s it, simple, no power struggle, and we get to do, legally, what is most important, notify the exposed talent.

As of now, no one seems to want to give up their rights though, so now we get to blame.  You should see where I’m going with all this, that we are ALL to blame.  We’re all way too greedy with our privacy, and now we’re complaining that someone actually USED that privacy to pull a fast one on us.  Why not blame MM?  Well he is to blame a little, but I’m not going to villainize him, I’m not going to sit here and be under the illusion that everyone else in the industry would stand from the rooftops and notify every partner they’d ever had, and never work again, no, you’re crazy if you think that under the current system, this will never happen again.  Some want to blame TTS.  Well, those are people with something to gain from seeing TTS go the way of the dodo bird because TTS is actually the entity with absolutely NO blame here, and had CET been the testing facility, they would have had no blame either. Mainly because TTS/CET is bound by those rights I spoke of that we need to give away when entering the industry.  Those rights are in most part related to HIPAA.  I don’t have the time nor the energy to explain HIPAA in detail, so just google it guys, you’ll see very quickly that itis ILLEGAL for TTS/CET to share results from an STD test to ANYONE but
MM.  And that is the flaw in the system.  We’re relying on the talent to do the right thing, and in this case and probably many times in the past and future, they didn’t.

In my opinion, all the other details in this matter are irrelevant.  Well maybe not irrelevant, but squabbling about them will not get us any closer to making sure this doesn’t happen again.

So there you are, a relatively short opinion on what is important in this  incident, and what we need to do to prevent it from happening again. Maybe we can all come together because of this incident, or maybe it’ll take a larger, more deadly incident to do that, who knows.

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Returning to Work ? Somethings You Should Know…

On September 3, 2012, in Op-Ed, by adultbizlaw

September 3, 2012, Labor Day, ironically, is the day that the FSC/APHSS has determined to be the best day to return adult performers to a regular production schedule, a mere 10 days after receiving a prophylactic antibiotic shot to hopefully cure the syphilis outbreak in the industry. Now that the moratorium on production has been lifted, be safe and here’s some facts that you should know before you head off to set;

  • There are 9 performers in adult confirmed positive for syphilis as of today;
  • Syphilis may take up to 90 days to detect through testing with the average range being 21 days;
  • Once you test positive for syphilis you may always test positive for syphilis;
  • If you are receiving your test results through APHSS you may not know that you are working with another performer that previously tested positive for syphilis – the APHSS database only tells you whether someone is “cleared” to work;
  • There is a disagreement between APHSS and TTS as to the proper test to use to detect syphilis;
  • APHSS states that their required and mandatory re-test can detect syphilis at 14 days while TTS states two tests are necessary to detect it this quickly.
  • Only 300 performers opted to take the antibiotic shot;
  • Despite the moratorium on production, there were some production companies and agents that continued to book scenes;
  • Some performers continued to escort during the moratorium;
  • Condoms may not protect you from catching or spreading syphilis;
  • Treatment for syphilis may make birth control pills ineffective;
  • Often those with syphilis do not show any symptoms of the disease;
  • In the primary and secondary stages syphilis is very contagious;
  • If a performer’s off camera sex partner(s) were not treated it is possible to reinfect those that were treated;
  • An antibiotic shot is not a vaccine and a performer can be reinfected quite easily;
  • If you catch syphilis, receive treatment and then get reinfected it will require 1 shot a week for 3 weeks to cure it;
  • Having an open syphilis sore makes it 2 to 5 times more likely that you can transmit/contract HIV during sex.

If there are any facts I have let off this list please feel free to add a comment to this article and I will add them to the list.

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Hello brick wall my name is Kora Peters, wanna talk?

On August 31, 2012, in Op-Ed, by adultbizlaw

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various contributors on this web site does not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of AdultBizLaw.com and Michael Fattorosi nor should they be considered legal advice.

Reposted with Permission Written by: Kora Peters as first published on  August 29, 2012 at

http://www.korapetersblog.com/kp/blog/hello-brick-wall-my-name-is-kora-wanna-talk/

I swear it feels like I have been talking to a brick wall since I got into the adult industry when it comes to healthcare and STDs. I have voiced my opinion since my first week in the industry and asked everyone to no avail why I had stricter guidelines for communicable diseases for being a massage therapist than they do to be an adult performer. I have felt, and still do, that since we are dealing with bodily fluids that we should all be educated on blood borne pathogens, STDs, and universal precautions.

When AIM was still in business I had started Correspondence with their founder, Dr. Sharon Mitchelle, about starting a program to educate talent better. As you know AIM was shut down in December of 2010,so that is where that ended. I was outraged when Talent Testing started testing and didn’t have syphilis on their basic panel. When I voiced my opinion (loudly) I got the same answers from EVERYONE in the industry, “You can get a full panel or go to your private physician if you want a syphilis test.” Then it was added as an option, as if it wasn’t of any importance. I still to this day have no answer as to why performers aren’t regularly tested for Hepatitis A,B,&C as it is easier to transmit Hepatitis C than HIV and there is no cure or vaccine for Hepatitis C.

Now, as if that weren’t enough to make you want to scream, here’s the kicker vaccines are available for Hepatitis A&B but they aren’t mandatory to be a performer in the adult industry. I have my vaccines as I requested them from my private physician when I decided to do porn. Another less likely but still infectious communicable disease that the adult industry NEVER tests for is TB. I had to get my TB test before I could get my massage license because I was going to be in contact with people, so why is it not required to be an adult performer when you are in a lot more contact with other people?

Why doesn’t the Adult Industry have to be OSHA compliant? Shouldn’t there be some OSHA training courses available to us as performers? KNOWLEDGE IS POWER and I have been trying to educate the adult industry but it’s like talking to a brick wall. I had no choice but to involve the CDC in this matter because I think that the people in my industry are either too stupid or too selfish to help themselves. YES I DID IT! I CALLED THE CDC AND GOT THEM INVOLVED. You may hate me now but you will thank me later, and if not that’s because you are too stupid to know any better!

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various contributors on this web site does not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of AdultBizLaw.com and Michael Fattorosi nor should they be considered legal advice.

Reposted with Permission Written by: Mae Olsen as first published on  August 21, 2012 at

http://maeolsenxxx.blogspot.com/2012/08/mae-olsen-breaks-her-silence-about-this.html

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome to the blog of Mae Olsen, frustrated adult actress/model. Now why am I frustrated? Because if you guys weren’t already aware, our porn universe is going through a bit of a major shutdown due to syphilis. Now I could babble on and on about my feelings regarding this however let us start with the cold hard facts shall we?

  • Mid-July a certain unnamed male performer was feeling ill and his doctor diagnosed him with syphilis
  • Male talent was aware that he was infected yet filmed at least three scenes without notifying anybody
  • Male talent faked his monthly STD test by obscuring the syphilis part
  • Talent Testing becomes aware of four positive syphilis tests and notifies the Los Angeles County Department of Health but not the APHSS (Adult Production Health and Safety Services), most likely thinking that the talent would get treatment which sadly was not the case
  • Fast forward to last Friday when a story broke about the faked test; production halts
  • FSC (Free Speech Coalition) asks that all talent retest for syphilis
  • FSC calls for a moratorium on shooting
  • FSC decides that having negative tests are not good enough and basically says that ALL talent must take a penicillin shot in our asses and wait 10 days or not take the shot and wait 90 days in order to be cleared to shoot
  • Porn world rebels

NOW, as if everyone isn’t already annoyed and angry, a model has two of her friends beat up her agent, Kevin from Type9 over who knows why. THEN Gia Steel and Pressley Carter want to fight over Twitter talking about fighting at Starbucks like we need anymore fucking stupid ass drama at this time!!!

To all of my fellow sex workers, all of this stupid unnecessary fuckery is giving porn an even worse name that it already has! Let this hiatus be a lesson to all of you to be careful who to fuck with outside AND inside the industry and please be more open-minded about using condoms as they help prevent STDs. Now I say this because some of you are obviously SEVERELY unintelligent and don’t know what syphilis even is.

Now regarding info about the actual male talent who faked his test, I will just say that despite the rumors I am not going to point fingers until I see the actual false test with the talent’s name on it. For the dumb bitches who believe these claims based in hearsay, in the words of Nicki Minaj…YOU A STUPID HOE!

In conclusion, I say we all suck it up, get this shot in our asses, strap that dick up with a Magnum and get back to work!

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Adult Performer Safety Needs Re-Evaluation by Don Fernando

On August 30, 2012, in Op-Ed, by adultbizlaw

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various contributors on this web site does not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of AdultBizLaw.com and Michael Fattorosi nor should they be considered legal advice.

Reposted with Permission Written by: Don Fernando as first published on  August 29, 2012 at

http://donfernandoxxx.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/adult-performer-safety-needs-re-evaluation/

Presumption at hand: The FSC (Free Speech Coalition); who proclaims to be the spokesperson for the Adult Industry in the USA, has declared a moratorium on partner scenes (2 or more performers engaging in sexual activity either with condoms or without) until September 4, 2012. The announcement by FSC and Manwin Media has basically instructed the American industry talent that under the presumption that all talent that has been performing this year are presumed to have been exposed to Syphilis and to control the spread of said disease that “in order to start work, all performers should go to Cutting Edge Testing (administered by Dr. Peter Miao) or to their physician and receive a large dose of injectable Penicillin or a substitute injection of Ceftriaxone for those allergic to Penicillin as a prophylactic (prophylactic is defined as a preventive medicine or course of action) measure.

Talent treated with the injected antibiotic will then be allowed to resume booking work (in the approximately 90% non-condom USA industry) to start 10 days after their prophylactic treatment. NOTE: “Prophylactic medicine is that which is administered to a patient as said patient is presumed to be exposed to an infection or disease.”

Manwin is onboard with this protocol and is helping with the implementation as the majority of their recent productions are of the “non-condom” variety and are expressing the “Let’s get back to work, folks!” posture. They also seem to feel that all performers based in the USA are presumed to be exposed to some degree to Syphilis hence their support of the prophylactic injection.

I googled “When can one resume sex after treatment to cure Primary Syphilis?” – here is an excerpt of what came up on Google from a government STD website covering both Primary Syphilis and Secondary Syphilis.: “However you will usually have to avoid sexual activity for at least two months after ‘treatment’ begins. Then you should use condoms. You should be checked regularly for some years after your treatment to check for any recurrence.”

Note the words in the first sentence “avoid sexual activity for at least two months (60 days) after ‘treatment’ begins.”

There is a huge difference between a 10 day and 60 day recommended abstinence of sexual activity. The FSC and Manwin Media plan to allow “presumed exposed and’or infected” performers to “resume sexual activity 10 days after receiving the prophylactic injection” seems to be going against LA County Health, US-CDC and US Dept. of Health and Human Services recommendations to prevent re-exposure and/or re-infection of the highly contagious bacterial infection that is Syphilis.

Is this really a well thought out policy? I do not think so…wrap you head around it and think it all the way through.

Best To All My Fellow Performers.

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Porn- The New Political War Grounds? by Alia Janine

On August 29, 2012, in Op-Ed, by adultbizlaw
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various contributors on this web site does not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of AdultBizLaw.com and Michael Fattorosi nor should they be considered legal advice.

 

Reposted with Permission Written by: Alia Janine as first published on  August 28, 2012 at

http://aliajanine.com/2012/08/28/porn-the-new-political-war-grounds/

Since I’ve been on a roll with blog posts this past week, with the current issue(s) at hand in the industry, and Im obviously not working like the rest of you (or at least SHOULDN’T be), so I thought I might as well throw my 2¢ in. I like to crack jokes and all but that doesn’t mean I don’t care, Im not paying attention, or doing my homework. People have seriously gotten out of control, did some of you forget that most of you used to be friends or were at least civil to each other, and slightly respected each others idiosyncrasies? Geesh. People need to focus on the bigger picture and start coming up with solutions instead of adding more problems. It is an election year and porn is not a winning candidate right now.

Some people must realize that this is EXACTLY what Michael Weintstein wanted to happen. Him and his little army took out AIM because it was the ONE place that prevent outbreaks and unnecessary damaging PR. He KNEW that it would cause total chaos. Sadly, he was right. Although Im sure he was thinking it was going to be an actual HIV scare, Im sure he’s probably thrilled nonetheless. Because his plan is working, you fools! Am I the only one that’s ever read The Art of War? Seriously. And I don’t give a FUCK (sorry for swearing) if people didn’t like AIM, AIMs purpose was to PREVENT things like this from happening. Yes, people should have the right to choose where they want to get tested, but those testing facilities need to have a ONE common data base (having all the facilities give out that information is much more scary then one, think about it) where all performer’s test results are held so agents and production companies can look and prevent this from happening. It will also prevent an entire industry from having to shut down and 1000s of people being out of work. Just saying.

Before anyone gets in my face about the “privacy” of medical records, let me clue you in on a some legal shit (sorry for swearing) that you may not know, and if you do know and don’t like it, too bad- it’s the LAW. I’ll make it simple and use examples though so the ignorant people hear me (little edited Lauryn Hill for ya). When people have to get drug tested, vaccinations, full medical exams, or whatever for certain jobs because they’re either working with heavy machinery, in the medical field, or acting in a mainstream movie; the people that are going to hire them have the right to see those results because seeing those results is a requirement to obtain that position. Why do they have that right? Because under (most) state laws when someone is injured at their place of work, their employer is completely liable. If their employer is paying them to do something that requires a drug free mind, or to not be acceptable to certain diseases, or to perform acts that could cause an injury, and If the employer didn’t take any of the precautions to prevent things that could’ve been avoidable; they will be sued, their business possibly shut down, and so on.

WE ARE NO DIFFERENT. Remember Cal/OSHA and all their talk about haz-mat suits and dental damns, they weren’t kidding. We are knowingly and willingly exchanging bodily fluids, that can possibly harm us, with complete strangers sometimes, and people are worried about the people they work for/with seeing their test results? Are you skull fucking me with this shit (sorry for swearing)?!?! We are Cal/OSHA’s wet dream, and it would be a total nightmare for the industry if they got their overly, creepy clean hands in it. Like it or not, the companies that hire us have EVERY right to see those test results because if a performer is to contract something on a set, that company is liable for that person’s care, workman’s comp., and so on. Which is GOOD for performers.

Thus why the APHSS system is needed. Regardless if you like the FSC or not, they’re the only ones I saw step up to the plate like Sharon Mitchell did to do something to protect us. And yes, people have every right to be nervous about having your “real name” in a data base like that. But let’s keep real, performer’s real names are EVERYWHERE online. If someone wants to find it, they’re not going to hack into a data base to do it (unless they’re a psycho like the name we do not speak of). The internet, lube, and some time is much easier. Although I do believe the FSC needs to focus more on the whole picture and stop trying to control everything. But look at it this way, if Manwin and a few other companies are forking out all this money for medical equipment, testing reimbursements, and treatments, Im fairly certain they will make sure the APHSS data base is secure. Specially if we ask him nicely about it on Twitter. lol If you don’t like the system or the way it works, come up with something that will work better, and change it.

November is not that far away and this is not going to help the issue with condoms in any way. With everyone in the industry fighting each other, the general public is going to see that, think we’re all incompetent, and they’re going to vote yes. I say we beat them at their own game. They’re going to be voting on our Constitutional Rights on us having control over our own bodies, that is so not cool with me. I say we let the performer’s decide If they want to wear condoms or not. Not that I’ve ever seen anyone say no before but let’s really make it a point. And the WHOLE POINT is that we have the RIGHT TO CHOOSE. Let’s make a big fucking (sorry for swearing) deal out of it. Title- Porn Cleans Up It’s Act, “After a small syphilis outbreak in the Porn Industry, companies are letting performers chose to wear condoms or not on top of regular testing to ensure the safety of all performers….” and “porn companies ungraded and invested it medical grade cleaning products and equipment…” Blah, blah, blah. If some of us are already wearing condoms and playing along with the other side, people aren’t going to vote yes, and Michael fuck-face Weintstein (Im not sorry for swearing) will have to go back to the drawing board. (Plus we know damn well most performers are not going to use them anyways.) Get it together people, we’re worse than the Democrat and Republican party’s right now. We’re supposed to be fighting the system, not turning into it. Duh.

As for the infamous “shot” in the ass…. For one, if some of you don’t know you’re allergic to penicillin by now, you had horrible parents and are an idiot, I actual fear for your survival in this world. Secondly, it isn’t healthy to get a shot like that when you don’t need it but, at the same time it’s not going to kill you. Considering when the whole syphilis thing came out no one (really) knew who was “patient zero,” who they worked with, who those people worked with, and so on. Having everyone get a shot was definitely a panic move, but at the same time without everyone in one system there was no real way to tell who had what when, and people needed to react. Talk to your doctor, only they can tell you what’s best for your health. If you have to wait or want to wait the 90 days so be it. We are talking people LIVES here. Dumdums. I whined and talked shit (sorry for swearing) about it but I got it done because of the “what if” factor. Stock up on probiotics, ladies they have special supplements just for you too, and quit yer bitchin’. Be a part of a solution not the problem.

I also think some people could use a little refresher course in Sex Ed, the STI part that is. STIs are something every person needs to worry about in the jizz biz or not. For the fact that they are our only real job hazards- I can’t say Im not surprised certain people don’t know about them, but it is very bothersome. And it’s not that they don’t know what they are or at least their names, but they obviously don’t know about them and obviously not what some look like. Knowing about something and actually comprehending it can be two completely different things. So I took the initiative and went to Wikipedia for you. Remember, knowing is half the battle. ;)

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Emails, Databases and Doctors – Are We Doing it Right ?

On August 28, 2012, in Legal, by adultbizlaw

This article is a continuation of my examination of the testing facilities utilized by the adult industry to check for the presence of sexually transmitted diseases. There is a little known but albeit interesting law in California that should be of special interests to those in the adult industry for two reasons. First, California Health and Safety Code section 123148 requires that a “health care professional” who orders a laboratory test for sexually transmitted diseases “shall” provide those results to the patient. Further, test results for HIV antibodies cannot be provided to the patient by the healthcare professional by the Internet or other electronic means. The statute reads in relevant part;

123148.  (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a health
care professional at whose request a test is performed shall provide
or arrange for the provision of the results of a clinical laboratory
test to the patient who is the subject of the test if so requested by
the patient, in oral or written form. The results shall be conveyed
in plain language and in oral or written form, except the results may
be conveyed in electronic form if requested by the patient and if
deemed most appropriate by the health care professional who requested
the test...
(f) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), none of the
following clinical laboratory test results and any other related
results shall be conveyed to a patient by Internet posting or other
electronic means:
   (1) HIV antibody test.
   (2) Presence of antigens indicating a hepatitis infection.
   (3) Abusing the use of drugs.
   (4) Test results related to routinely processed tissues, including
skin biopsies, Pap smear tests, products of conception, and bone
marrow aspirations for morphological evaluation, if they reveal a
malignancy.

 

These two paragraphs have serious implications as to how the industry currently handles testing as well as how that information is shared with a performer. The first paragraph requires that only a physician or other “health care professional” order the testing for the sexually transmitted disease panel since only the physician or other “health care professional” can share the tests results with the patient. Also, if those test results include an HIV antibody test those results cannot be shared via the Internet on a database, by email or even through a phone call. You read that correctly. Test results cannot even be shared with a patient via a phone call. At this point you may be saying that I must be crazy – all doctors share those results by phone. Except that there is a current bill in the California Legislature to correct that problem with the original law. It is referred to as Assembly Bill 2253 and so far it appears to have bipartisan support in the Legislature but as yet to become law. ( See http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_2253&sess=1112&house=A )

Here is a summary of the bill from MapLight California (See http://maplight.org/california/bill/2011-ab-2253/1069303/history )

Existing law authorizes the results of a clinical laboratory test performed at the request of a health care professional to be conveyed to the patient in electronic form if requested by the patient and if deemed most appropriate by the health care professional, except that existing law prohibits the conveyance by Internet posting or other electronic means of test results relating to HIV antibodies, the presence of hepatitis antigens, and the abuse of drugs, and specified test results that reveal a malignancy.

This bill would revise these provisions to refer to the disclosure of test results, would provide that the telephone is not a form of electronic communication, and would authorize the disclosure by Internet posting or other electronic means of clinical laboratory test results related to HIV antibodies, the presence of hepatitis antigens, and the abuse of drugs, and specified test results that reveal a malignancy if requested by the patient, the means of conveyance is deemed appropriate by the health care professional, and a health care professional has already discussed the results with the patient.

Obviously, if a bill is needed to make it legal for a doctor to tell you whether you have or don’t have HIV on the phone, it is still very much illegal to provide that information to you via email, a database or anything sent to your phone. Currently, it appears that only a “health care professional” can tell you in person what the results of your HIV test is. Some veteran performers may remember when testing started in the industry they had to wait for the results in the testing center in Venice, California. This was even prior to the establishment of the Adult Industry Medical clinic.

If you are now being “sent” your test results by the doctor or the lab that is not allowed under California Health and Safety Code section 123148 (See http://www.mbc.ca.gov/consumer/complaint_info_questions_practice.html#18 ). Further, even with the patient’s agreement the prohibition against sharing test results electronically is NOT allowed. A performer cannot even waive this provision of California law.

So who is a “health care professional” and does a performer actually need to be examined prior to having a test ordered or can a performer simply walk into a clinic and request a test. This is where the laws surrounding HIV testing are not quite clear. And the laws are different in regards to public free testing sponsored by a county or state health department as compared to private medical testing. It is not clear whether a full examination is required. However, it does appear that a performer themselves cannot order a test from a laboratory. That order must be placed by a health care professional.

Based on everything I have read it appears that only a “licensed health care professional” licensed under California’s Professions and Business codes can order an STD test from the lab. Obviously it would be lawful for a physician licensed in the state of California to order such a test. However, what about Nurse Practitioners, Physician’s Assistants and other medical personnel you might encounter in a testing facility ? Nurse Practitioners and Physician’s Assistants are licensed by the state of California so it seems that they can order STD testing. Can front desk clerks and other non-licensed staff order STD tests – the answer is probably not.

At this point in time it appears that the way tests results are ordered and provided to performers within the adult industry may not be in line with current California law. If Assembly Bill 2253 finally passes and is signed into law by the Governor of California we will be one step closer to being compliant with that change in the current law.

If you would like to learn more about laws pertaining to HIV and the testing for such in California please download this guide from the state of California -> http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=25&cad=rja&ved=0CGQQFjAEOBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdph.ca.gov%2Fprograms%2Faids%2FDocuments%2FRPT2007-06-14-2849-2006AIDSLAWS.pdf&ei=LN48UMDIK8iz8AHtvYGoCw&usg=AFQjCNH63w71vDufrICv3mYyvdYKVm34Kw&sig2=ZGP8YZWMEBLk-WT1cM9ebw

 

 

 

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Is There a Hole in APHSS ?

On August 27, 2012, in Legal, by adultbizlaw

The syphilis outbreak in the adult industry has brought to the forefront a highly contested debate as to testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Currently there is a debate as to whether there should be one testing facility or multiple facilities. There is also a debate as to what the proper protocols should be for informing performers and their sex partners of a possible outbreak. There is yet another debate as to whether what exactly should a performer know about his/her costar on set in regards to their medical history.

Background…

The main players in this debate are the testing facilities under the umbrella known as the Adult Production Health & Safety Service (APHSS https://aphss.org/ ). APHSS is the brainchild of the Free Speech Coalition (FSC http://www.freespeechcoalition.com/ ) and several major content production studios that openly support the FSC, most notably Manwin, Evil Angel, Kink.com, Girlfriend Films, Gamma Entertainment and Vivid Entertainment. One of those APHSS testing facilities is Cutting Edge Testing, which is owned and operated by Dr. Miao, and is one of the main testing facilities in Los Angeles for the industry. (CET http://cuttingedgetesting.com/ ).

On the other side of the equation is Talent Testing Services (TTS http://www.talenttestingservice.com/ ), a testing laboratory not a medical clinic, which appears to be supported by LATATA ( http://latata.org/ ). The Licensed Adult Talent Agency Trade Association is comprised of several of the licensed and bonded adult talent agents within the United States. Further, TTS is not part of the APHSS system and it appears does not wish to be. TTS is not a medical facility it is a laboratory that performs testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

APHSS’s inception is rather recent, only occurring after Adult Industry Medical (AIM) closed and filed for bankruptcy within the last year. TTS has been in operation for several years.

As for adult performers, they seem to be split as to which testing facility they prefer. Some prefer CET and the APHSS system while others prefer TTS.

Medical History within the APHSS Database…

Without getting into extreme detail as to either service or all that either service offers, since that would require pages of analysis, I would like to confine my discussion to one potential problem with the APHSS database I have been made aware of by seasoned veteran performers.

Since I prefaced this article with the words “hotly debated” let me state this for my readers. I do not have a financial interest in either testing facility. I do not have a preference as to either testing facility. I am not a performer nor a producer and therefore do not have a “dog in this hunt” so to speak. I am neutral as to both facilities so please do not attack me believing this article is merely an attack on APHSS. It is not. It is merely meant to inform and educate based on a potential issue I see with the way medical history is handled in the APHSS system. My goal is that this issue can be resolved and the database improved for the health, safety and knowledge of the talent.

After a discussion on Twitter with Fabian Thylmann it became apparent to this writer that there is a potential hole in the APHSS database as to the past medical history of performers. I have come to this understanding after the conversation with Fabian Thylmann as well as personally attending the APHSS presentation in July conducted by the FSC and Dr. Maio. I will limit my discussion to just one issue. That issue is how past medical history is handled by APHSS.

From my understanding the performers in the APHSS database will be either “cleared” or “not cleared” to work under the APHSS database and call in system. Which means that only the most recent test results will be available to be reported and only in the way proscribed. Which, for legal purposes, is a good idea with the issue of medical privacy being important to so many. As a lawyer, I like the APHSS database. It leaves little room for violation of medical privacy.

However, from my discussions with some veteran performers it appears that there are a contingent of them that would like to know more about their on-screen partner’s medical history, including whether they have tested for syphilis in the past. While normally I would disagree with that position as for chlamydia and gonorrhea I do see that information as being important for syphilis. Syphilis is an infection that can be easily cured but may always result in some level of a positive finding on a sexual transmitted disease test result, depending on the test used. (Please see http://www2a.cdc.gov/stdtraining/self-study/syphilis/syphilis10.asp ). Therefore, I can certainly see a performer’s right to make an informed decision. While medically it may be impossible to transmit the disease once a performer as undergone treatment some performers feel as though that they would like to know that information prior to performing in a scene with previously positive performer. A balance between privacy and informed decisions must be made.

From what I was told by Fabian Thylmann of Manwin, a performer who has tested positive for syphilis will be cleared for work within the APHSS database once they have been examined and cleared by an APHSS physician. Therefore, while we do not know at this time who besides Mr. Marcus may have it,  based on Fabian Thylmann’s statement it is possible that at some future point a performer that had syphilis and received treatment will be actively performing again. With this potential hole in the APHSS system anyone working with that performer would not even know about the past positive history for syphilis.

While this might not present much stress for some performers it may for others. I discussed this issue with a male performer that indicated that he did not believe that working with a performer who had previously tested positive for syphilis but is now cured posed much of a risk. However, he did indicate that information would be desirable in order to make an informed decision. Performers should be able to assess risk and balance such concerns themselves.

I had suggested to Fabian Thylmann of Manwin that the APHSS database be changed so that it would instead read “cleared for work” however with a notation. That notation in the database could be an indication that the other performer may have tested positive for syphilis within the last 30, 60, 90 or 180 days depending on long ago the past the positive test occurred. That may allow a performer to make a more informed decision as to who their screen partners will be.

This hole in the database may also become more important in the future if testing is going to expand past the basic HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea and now syphilis panel. If the industry adds herpes, hepatitis and human papillomavirus to the regular testing panel how is the APHSS database set up to handle those types of results. Are all performers that test positive for herpes going to be “cleared to work” without a notation that they carry the virus ? As with syphilis is an APHSS doctor going to examine them for the presence of an outbreak before clearing the performer to work ? How often will this exam be necessary ?

Will there be a notation in the APHSS database for those performers that have had a hepatitis B vaccination ? Will a performer know if they are working with someone else who has been vaccinated ?

Since this database is being touted as the database for the entire industry, lets not forget the gay side of production as well. There are gay production companies that allow HIV positive performers to work with other HIV positive performers as well as HIV negative performers ( See http://www.insidesocal.com/outinthe562/2010/11/hiv-positive-gay-porn-actor-signs-exclusive-contract.html ). Some of those studios even match performers with different strains of HIV together. How would this particular situation be handled by the APHSS database and call in system ? Would an HIV positive performer working for a gay production studio “not be cleared for work” or would they. Would a notation be required on that performer’s database file ? Or is APHSS simply not going to allow gay performers and production companies into their database ? That cannot be possible since APHSS has under it’s umbrella of testing facilities a clinic located in San Francisco. There are also straight porn production companies such as Naughty America that are now also producing gay content ( See http://queermenow.net/blog/naughty-america-presents-3-new-gay-porn-sites/ )

Needless to say, the syphilis outbreak has caused numerous questions to be asked in regards to the current state of testing and performer health and safety as well as the mandatory use of condoms now required by state law and Los Angeles city ordinance. Without doubt this issue will continue to be debated, lines will be drawn and sides will be taken. Let us not forget those in the middle of the fire, the performers who risk their health every time they step on set to perform.

Knowledge is power. If you believe I am mistaken in the way medical history will be handled by the APHSS database I invite you to post a comment. Any inaccuracies will be corrected.

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Syphilis and You – Part I

On August 26, 2012, in Legal, by adultbizlaw

I usually try to remove my personal thoughts and prejudices from this blog and desire it to be more legal and factual in nature. However, in light of what is happening not only in the United States but also Europe in regards to syphilis I do not believe that I can. Too many of my friends, not just clients, are caught up in what could end up ruining their lives, businesses and careers.

I had a conversation two nights ago with a client and friend that perhaps I was too difficult on since I held a bright-line approach with him as to when he should return to performing as well as producing. It is always much easier to play quarterback from the sidelines then it is from the actual game. And I am not IN this actual game. I do not sacrifice my body on camera nor do I have to worry about my hired talent on set contracting syphilis or any STD for that matter. I am not a producer nor talent.

He was gracious in explaining the everyday situations he finds himself in a much diminished industry trying to do what he feels is the “right thing” while being able to pay his bills. I certainly cannot fault him for such. It is a difficult decision that producers and talent have to make as to when to resume shooting.

It appeared, at least to most, that the most turbulent part of the storm had blown over when the FSC ( http://www.freespeechcoalition.com ) had made the announcement that Manwin and several other producers would provide a prophylactic antibiotic shot to talent for free so they could return to work 10 days after receiving the injection. Hundreds of performers lined up to get the miracle drug called penicillin. Then two days later Rocco Siffredi dropped a bombshell interview on XBiz Magazine, wherein, he claimed that 89-100 performers through-out Europe now have syphilis and the number may be rising. ( http://www.xbiz.com/news/153188 ) He also went on to state that Europe is now under a 60 day moratorium and production has ceased. Cases have been reported in Budapest, Prague and St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg may have had the earliest reported cases starting in as early as May 2012. (Note: This information was provided by Fabian Thylmann of Manwin) His comments left most of the US industry wondering how and why this happened.

It appears for all intents and purposes that the European performers were also receiving antibiotics as well. Therefore, how could 16 cases explode into 100 cases in a short 2-3 weeks. I do not know if anyone has the answer to that particular question nor do we in the US know that there is a confirmed count of 100 cases in Europe. I have no reason to doubt Siffredi, but his comments cannot be viewed in a vacuum. He might be incorrect. However, he seemed to blame performers that also escort as a reason for the increase in cases, at least outside the industry. He also discussed that fact that some talent in Europe also altered their tests to allow them to continue to work as Mr. Marcus did here in Los Angeles. However, he did not seem to have an answer as to how the number of cases had risen in Europe so dramatically in a few short weeks.

In the United States, an accurate count of the number of positive cases remains a mystery. It could be 2, 5 or even as high as 9 as reported by the Los Angeles County Health Department (LA County Health receives all reports of STDs within the county as required by law). Which of those cases are from within the industry and how many are outside of it. The simple answer is that no one knows for certain at this point.

Unfortunately, many performers within the Los Angeles industry continue to work despite the moratorium. I even heard that one male talent has said that the syphilis outbreak has been a “goldmine” for him since he was one of the few male performers still willing to work. I have also heard reports of agents continuing to book talent for scenes and even charging them “kill fees” for refusing to perform. Which obviously means there are at least a handful of companies that are still producing. As my friend and client indicated, people have to eat and pay bills. Many performers and producers do not have a cash reserve that will allow them to survive even a 10 day stoppage no less the 60 days that is now affecting our European counterparts. Further, producers for some large internet websites and tubesites do not have enough content in reserve to allow them to stop producing. Websites must be continually updated for the members so they continue to rebill.

This has left me wondering whether the US, and more specifically the Los Angeles, market is about to experience a dramatic rise in the number of cases or has this outbreak been contained by the prophylactic antibiotic shot provided to some performers for free. Some performers have opted not to take the shot and would rather wait 90 days for three clean syphilis tests to continue working. Either way, we are, without question, in a wait and see period. The latency for a positive finding on a syphilis test can indeed be as long as 90 days though it usually shows up on a test within 20-30 days. I am unaware of any tests that can show whether a performer is positive or negative for syphilis in as little as 10 days. (Note: Fabian Thylmann of Manwin provided that there is no test that can accurately detect syphilis at the 10 day mark however it is his opinion that if treated and caught early a performer should be allowed to return to work.)

So where does that leave the US talent pool as well as the producers ? At this point, in my opinion, lost and confused. I have received numerous calls in regards to when production should resume. No one seems to have a clear answer to this question since the answer would depend on your ability to handle risk. Obviously, the sooner you return to production the higher risk you might have of contracting and spreading syphilis. The longer you wait the more the risk diminishes – or does it ? Perhaps not, if some talent and producers continued to work during the moratorium. What it really comes down to is how many first generation cases did we start with and how many second generation cases were there, as well as how many of those cases were cured with the antibiotic shot. I do not think we will ever know since prior to giving the antibiotic shot, the FSC and APHSS did not specifically test the performer base for syphilis, they merely injected them. However numerous performers did in fact test prior to receiving the injection. Therefore, the industry may never know how exactly far this disease had spread. We, like the Europeans may have had 75+ cases. We may have none now thanks to the shot. We may still have several cases floating around the industry. We do not know. However, we will soon find out though.

The real question is what else can a performer and or producer do in the interim to pay the bills and survive a 10 day or longer shut down of production. That will be discussed in my next installment – Part II.

 

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