LA County Condom Vote: 62 Days

On September 5, 2012, in Op-Ed, by adultbizlaw

For the past several weeks the adult industry has been in turmoil over the outbreak of syphilis in the performer community. Many have commented on how ill timed the syphilis outbreak has been since the industry is currently in a battle over government mandated condoms being forced into use. (Note: There are other regulations that require barrier protection to be used during production of hardcore sex scenes however this article will only discuss the Ballot Measure B)

On Tuesday, November 6th voters in Los Angeles County will go to the polls and vote either for or against condoms. We are 62 days from “B-Day” and need to, as an industry, discuss this matter openly. The syphilis outbreak has certainly opened the discussion of condoms within the industry. I have talked with and have heard from more performers coming out in favor of condoms. Others, not in favor of condoms, have put forth the point that even with mandatory condoms the syphilis outbreak may not have been prevented. (Note: Syphilis may be transmitted by sores not located on the penis)

Whichever side of this debate you are on it is time to have your voice heard on this issue. My personal opinion is that performers should have the absolute right to choose to wear condoms however condoms should not be mandated by any governmental agency since I believe it violates a performer and producer’s Constitutional First Amendment rights.

Here is some information on Ballot Measure B from BallotPedia.com ( http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Los_Angeles_Porn_Actors_Required_to_Wear_Condoms_Act,_Measure_B_%28November_2012%29 )

Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has stated his support of the measure;

“For too long, elected officials have dodged this workplace safety issue, punting the issue from city to county to state, and as a consequence, the health and safety of these workers has been neglected, often with dire consequences.”

Diane Duke, Executive Director of the Free Speech has stated;

“History has shown us that regulating sexual behavior between consenting adults does not work. The best way to prevent the transmission of HIV and other STIs is by providing quality information and sexual health service, all of which are successfully provided through adult industry protocols and best practices. Clearly AIDS Healthcare Foundation has chosen to squander its donors’ resources by filing frivolous lawsuits and ballot initiatives instead of providing valuable resources toward the prevention and treatment of HIV.”

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, supporters of the initiative, commissioned a poll in March 2012 to measure public support for the mandatory condom requirement. Their poll indicated that 63% of likely voters support the requirement;

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
March 16-23, 2012 Research Now 63% 37% 1,046

 

As you can see from the AHF’s poll, in March 2012, thirty-seven percent (37%) of those polled did not support condoms in porn. Whether that would ring true today might be another story. The syphilis outbreak has really brought this issue to light in the mainstream press. Obviously, much of which was not positive. The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, LA Weekly, the LA Times and other newspapers and media outlets have all covered the issue of condoms in porn since at least last year. Most of the opinions I have read have been in support of the Ballot Measure B and to require condoms.

However there is also support in mainstream against Ballot Measure B – Reason.com, a Libertarian magazine, has come out against both the city and county laws. ( Please see; http://reason.com/blog/2012/08/21/syphilis-cases-lead-to-outbreak ) Reason.com has a large viewership and reaches millions of people.

 

Whatever your position is on the condom issue it is time to make your voice heard. There are performers and producers that prefer mandated condoms while others are against condoms under any circumstances, mandated or optional. Some producers and fans feel as though it will ruin the “fantasy” element of porn and thus not sell as well as “condomless” porn. They cite the fact that condom-free porn can be made in other states or even countries, which may put an end to the industry in Los Angeles. Some believe that if mandated condoms are required in California the industry will simply pack up and move to another state.

If you earn your income from the adult industry this issue affects you. Now is the time to speak up.

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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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Of UFC Fighters, Comedians, Poetry & Porn…

On September 1, 2012, in Life, by adultbizlaw

Last night Vanessa and I had the distinct pleasure of being able to spend some time over a dinner with a group of interesting and varied people. We were in Las Vegas and were able to catch Bryan Callen’s comedy show at the Paris Hotel. Afterwards, he invited us to join him, a writer and another comedian and two UFC fighters for dinner. It is always interesting being the “porn people” in a group of mainstream people. Usually, we are inundated with questions about the industry. Last night was no different, however it does give me/us a chance to ask some questions of them as well. It is always a learning experience.

Of course the Mr. Marcus and syphilis topic did come up. However, interestingly only two of the mainstream people were even aware of the situation – one of the UFC fighters and the writer. Which I suppose means that our dirty laundry so to speak hasn’t penetrated the mainstream news as far I as previously believed. However, this subject led us to a more important discussion – testing.

Performers have often compared themselves to athletes and even UFC fighters as far as their job description is involved and how performers are akin to those who fight and exchange bodily fluids in close “hand to hand,” so to speak, proximity. When I told the UFC fighters that as a practice the industry does NOT require full panel testing they were somewhat surprised since they indicated that they have to under go full panel testing as a fighter and could not imagine stepping into the Octagon without both parties being fully testing for all potential diseases that could be passed. They basically indicated they simply would not fight someone unless they were completely tested.

Then the issue of MRSA was raised. If you are unfamiliar with MRSA, that is basically a staph infection that enters the body through the exchange of bodily fluids such as mere sweat through a break in the skin, cut or abrasion. The staph bacteria is quite deadly if it enters one’s blood and difficult to treat with antibiotics. It plagues not only UFC fighters but also porn performers and any other sport where there is body to body contact. We often refer to MRSA or staph infections as a “spider bite.” Apparently there is a special spider that only lives in Chatsworth, California that specifically targets performers and always seems to bite on their victim’s ass region. We do not talk about MRSA that much in the adult industry but it is certainly a topic for discussion on its own. I have personally know numerous performers that contracted it, with one even requiring hospitalization to treat it.

We then moved on from syphilis, testing and MRSA to racism. One of the fighters asked if it were true that some of the women in the industry charged more to perform with a black man than a white one. They were shocked by the answer. Both fighters could not fathom the idea of asking for a higher fight fee because he was fighting someone of a particular race. This notion was so foreign to them it appeared we as an industry were still operating in the dark ages, no pun intended. While they noted there is some racism in the UFC, they for the most part, treat each other like family.

They had to admit that while they are fierce and combative in the Octagon and during practice, for the most part they all have an extreme amount of respect for themselves, each other and the UFC. I got the impression that the both of them truly loved what they did and felt blessed to be apart of it. They are what we used to be – a family. They cared so much for each other they had to admit it was difficult to watch their friend’s fights.

I also got that impression from the comedians and writers in the group. The writer, who has written several movies and TV series, said that whenever he has a chance he always try to write parts into his projects for his friends. The main characters are always cast by the production company but for the lesser parts he has the ability to cast and clearly write for. The other comedian in the group indicated that she has opened up numerous times for Bryan through-out his career. Knowing other comedians I can say that is true amongst most of them. If you ever watch a comedy movie you will always see several comedians in the same movie. Once one comic makes it he/she tries to take his/her friends with them.

To a large extent, that is how the adult industry use to be. A small group of people that knew each other, cared for each other and helped each other when we could. They might not have always liked one another but they stood together. Whether it was against governmental intrusion or attack from the mainstream. I have only been in adult for 8 years and I only caught the tail-end of that period. Vanessa who has been in adult for 16 years remembers it well. It was a much different industry then.

Porn has turned from mom & pop producers to “big international business” with much of the control of the Los Angeles based industry  coming from outside the United States. We are no longer a local industry but instead a part of a global movement. A movement that wants to vertically integrate all aspects of porn, from talent to production to distribution, including hosting, traffic, bandwith and advertising. A one stop shop that some might call a monopoly. Los Angeles may become nothing more than a cog in the wheel of a much larger global “porn” machine.

Perhaps Mr. Marcus’s decision to alter his test was more then just a lesson in paper vs. database or APHSS vs. TTS. Perhaps it was a lesson in what the future holds for porn in the United States. I guess the time has come when people have to decide for themselves which road they want to go down. Jessica Drake probably said it best when she blamed greed as the cause of this situation. It is easy to choose a fast money over long money. It is more difficult to choose money over health. If the those in the industry do not respect themselves, their co-workers and their health there simply will not be an industry in Los Angeles to work in. The hardest decision is to chose family over personal financial interests. I suggest the road not taken…

The Road Not Taken.. By Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

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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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Syphilis Watch 2012 by Jessica Drake

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.

Re-posted with permission. Written by Jessica Drake. First posted here on August 29, 2012 http://insidejd.blogspot.com/?zx=cd1204884111d134

i have procrastinated writing this blog.

not the usual kind of procrastinating i do, like neglecting to rifle through a year’s worth of paperwork to locate two missing bank statements for my accountant. the kind of procrastinating that i employ when i cannot bear to face something so large looming right over my shoulder breathing down my back. there’s an elephant in the room, a monster under the bed, but guess what? the elephant has a name now, and the monster isn’t hiding anymore.

as i’m sure most of you have heard, a performer tested positive for syphilis recently. though incredibly rare- i’ve never known of a single case since i’ve been in the industry- that in itself was no crime. what was a crime, however, is the fact that he (by his OWN admission) altered at least one test and did several scenes while he was positive. let that sink in for a moment.

that act was done with blatant disregard for EVERYONE in the industry. even the people he didn’t have sex with. because of his actions, we are shut down until we understand the scope of this outbreak. talent cannot work. our crews cannot work. shoots have been cancelled, permits unused, locations unbooked- all at a great cost to everyone. being that he has been in our industry for 18 plus years, i am sure he understands now the consequences of his action, but that doesn’t change the fact that the damage is done, and we are all paying the price.

i know how people in the business feel, it’s been the topic of conversation since the news broke. there is a lot of anger, and rightfully so. in addition to that, we also must face the mainstream media who relish in the sensationalism of exposing more of the evils of pornography. from the LA Times, to the Huffington Post, from CNN to every lurker on Twitter, they are watching us duke it out in public forums with each other, adding fuel to the already rapidly spreading fire. the condom debate has been drawing to a close, and with the initiative on the ballot in a few months, it seems this is the proverbial final nail in the coffin.

whose fault is this?

it’s easy to simply push it all onto the guilty party who forged a test so he could continue working, but let’s take a look at his reasoning to understand the REAL issue.

he faked a test to keep WORKING. why? did he really need the money that much? did he truly have no other source of income? no fall-back money? after all that time in the business?

it’s greed. GREED. coupled with deceit, greed is crippling the adult industry. just like the crash of the housing market, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, just like the (many) big banking scandals, it’s happening to us. in big ways and in small ways. it happens when performers undercut one another to be the one that is hired for the scene. it’s about the companies who only care about selling more content to stay afloat. the male performer showed up to a booking with a second stage syphilis rash (note- it has not yet been proven that he knew he was infected with syphilis at this point, but the pictures taken on set that day speak VOLUMES) he was wrong for showing up like that, the girl he worked with was wrong to work with him, the director/camera man was wrong to shoot him, and the company was wrong for editing and using the scene on their website. no, i will NOT post the photo gallery of the scenes, but it IS out there. yes, internet piracy has crippled us, that is indisputable. it’s a self-destructive circle.

i walked off the set once many, many years ago when i was brand new to the industry because a potential scene partner had shown up with a questionable bump on his manhood. i didn’t need the money that much, and i never will.

Performers- RESPECT YOURSELF. you only have one body, one life, one chance at this. you are worth more than whatever you are being paid for the scene.

we have failed as an industry. we have failed to take care of one another- at least that is how it appears to the outside world. we have (HE has) by example, shown that we cannot prevent things like this from happening…and by failing to successfully apply constraints, we have opened ourselves up to having those constraints forcibly applied by people that will never understand our industry. i do not want that to happen. now, more than ever, we need to forge ahead and unite to preserve our freedom to work in this industry…the industry that i still love and will continue to defend and protect.

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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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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 & You – Part 2

On August 27, 2012, in Legal, by adultbizlaw

(Note: This article may be considered basic information for some in the industry) I suspect that this work stoppage may continue for more than the 10 days then most people are expecting. If the United States’ outbreak is anything like the outbreak in Europe, the industry might have to close for another 60-90 days. Also, some performers that have refused the penicillin shot will certainly have to wait 90 days to resume work. Most people I have talked to are in a relative panic already do to the downturn. How can talent and producers survive an extended period of not producing content ?

New business models will have to be explored and boundaries might have to be expanded for both producers and performers. I have numerous clients in the fetish side of the market, however, many hardcore sex performers and producers rarely try out these other avenues of revenues. Clips4Sale.com ( http://clips4sale.com/do/list ) is one site that can be easily mined for revenue, even with existing content including boy-girl. They have more categories of different types of fetishes then I can possibly cover many of which do not require any type of sexual interaction between performers. There are other downloadable clips sites other then Clips4Sale as well. I have known producers and models that have earned several thousand dollars a month from a successful store on Clips4Sale.

If you are “sitting” on scenes, now would be the time to edit those and start making money from that content. As a performer or producer you can easily have a store up and running in as little as a day. Promoting that content on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites would naturally drive traffic to your store.

Now is also an excellent time to learn and understand affiliate marketing in porn. As a performer you probably have appeared in dozens of scenes. It is time that you earn affiliate referral income from those scenes. Most large pornsites, including Manwin, BangBros and Naughty America will let you sign up and promote your own scenes. Once you sign up as an affiliate you will be provided a link code. You can use that link code on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media sites to push traffic to your scenes. If one of those people that click on your link signs up for the website you are promoting you will receive a cut of the membership fee. You can usually choose a larger one time payment or up to 50% of the total membership price paid for each month the person you referred remains a member. Most choose the one time payment since it is a larger amount and many people unsubscribe from a pornsite within the first 30 days and few actually rebill and continue their membership.

Another way to harness the power of your fan base is to link your Twitter page to an Amazon Wish List. I am not really sure why expensive gifts are necessary during a work stoppage however one producer suggested that performers should ask their fans to buy them Target or Ralph’s gift cards in order to buy food and basically necessities. (Note: Personally I do not like the idea of Amazon Wish Lists but I would be remiss not to mention them in this article.)

If you are a performer you may also want to finally consider starting your own membership website. However, that is a long range project that can be expensive to begin so it might not be within everyone’s budget right now. However, those performer’s and content producers that do have their own websites will have a much easier time during a period of work stoppage.

As a female, it is much easier to survive a lengthy work stoppage then male talent or even a small producer. For women, there are numerous opportunities to earn income without having to perform in a sex scene with a partner. The obvious is that a female performer can still shoot solo scenes. As discussed earlier this might also be a good time to explore possibilities as a fetish performer. Many fetish shoots do not require sex or even nudity. Not every fetish producer is Kink.com. Some fetish producers will shoot foot, leg, smoking or even small penis humiliation videos.

Another possible source of income for female (and male) talent is webcamming. If you aren’t webcamming yet I strongly suggest that you try it. Sites such as Streamate.com, ImLive.com, Naked.com and MyFreeCams.com seem to be the most popular now but there are dozens of others. Some webcam models can earn thousands per week on webcam. Even earning a few hundred a day should keep the rent and utilities paid each month if this shut down extends beyond 10 days. You will need an Internet connection, a computer with a webcam and a room where you can webcam and not be disturbed during the show. You can literally sign up in the morning and be approved by that night and start earning money. You might want to sign up for several sites and log in to different ones to test the traffic and earning opportunities. Again Twitter can be a way to announce your shows and to drive traffic to your camshows.

Of course there is the old pornstar standby – dancing at a strip club. Depending on where you live there might even be one close to your house. As a performer/pornstar it might be easy to get hired. You would be a natural “draw” for the club since they might not have any other performers/pornstars dancing there already. You can usually complete all the necessary paperwork within a few hours and be on stage as quickly as the same night. Las Vegas is always a favorite destination of most pornstars to dance. There is usually more money to be earned in Las Vegas as a dancer then almost every other city. Even in Los Angeles, it is often better to travel to Las Vegas to dance then try to dance in a local club. However, in Las Vegas your expenses including stage fees will be higher especially if you also have to pay to get there and for a place to stay once you do. However, with football season returning and summer ending Las Vegas should get busy again once the seminar and conference season starts in late September. Again, using Twitter and Facebook may draw fans to your performances.

For male performers it is a much different situation, unless of course you are comfortable with webcamming for other men (there might be some female clients but not likely) and/or doing fetish shoots. Usually, though in fetish shoots, the male talent tend to be submissive to the women when the scene does not involve sex. If male talent doesn’t mind being tied up and whipped, for example, there is still money to earned as a submissive model in fetish shoots.

If male talent has the body and can dance, he can try to join a male review. However, I suspect it is much more difficult for a man to break into that particular industry. There are less male shows, even in Las Vegas, then female only strip bars and the number of performances is also greatly reduced.

A male talent does have numerous contacts with female performers though, as do producers. It might be an opportune time to start a webcam studio for solo girls. If you have the equipment for production you then also have the equipment to set up a small webcam studio and begin broadcasting through one of the many camsites list above. How you set up paying talent is your choice. Most pay the female performers a percentage of what they earn during the show while others pay the female performers a flat rate or even hourly. Managing a webcam solo girl webcam studio may not be terribly exciting for male talent but it is a way to earn income during a work stoppage. Please also be aware of possible film permit laws in regards to operating a webcam studio though.

Whichever path you choose you can earn income during any period of work stoppage. It is time to stop depending solely on getting booked for shoots and take responsibility for generating your own income. Many performers spend hours on Twitter developing followers that far exceed even movie and television stars. It is time you harness that “star power” and generate your own income and be independent. If you can survive a work stoppage in the industry you can not only extend your career, you can become more “picky” about your scenes as well as take time off for your own personal reasons.

 

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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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