Cal OSHA + Porn Stars = Strange Bedfellows

Should condoms be required for adult film stars?

By Vicky Nguyen and Candice Nguyen
|  Thursday, May 6, 2010  |  Updated 1:57 PM PDT
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Should state workplace safety regulations be amended to require condoms for porn stars?

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Should state workplace safety regulations be amended to require condoms for porn stars?

That's the question a Cal OSHA advisory committee will face next month as it considers whether to amend workplace safety regulations to include the adult film industry and the many bodily fluids associated with it.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been lobbying for this for years, saying that since 2004, two dozen adult film stars have contracted HIV as a result of their jobs.

But Kink.com model Bella Rossi says mandating condoms would make it harder, and not necessarily safer, to do her job. "It's a lot of rubbing and chafing. I have known girls where the condoms have caused so much irritation they've bled from it."

Peter Acworth, founder and CEO of Kink.com says he supports a safe and comfortable working environment. His company is condom optional, and he says everyone is asked before the shoot, privately, whether they want to use a condom or not. If anyone says yes, the performers are told it's a condom mandatory shoot.

“I see this as a safety issue, but I’d like to see genuine statistics to show if people are catching HIV from this." Acworth said. "My understanding is the rate of HIV in the adult industry is lower than random sampling of people that age.”

Opponents say mandatory condoms would make the job harder, and not necessarily safer. They say the industry requirement of STD and HIV testing every 30 days provides adequate protection.

For Rossi, 25, and married to a partner who is also in the industry, the concerns about her health are there, but she says she wants to decide how she works, and under what conditions.

"Condoms are an option and I believe they should remain an option," Rossi said.

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