Nevada brothels to set example for adult film industry

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Oh dear. Oh boy. Oh my.  My first story of the year was about how the largely Los Angeles County based adult film industry is trying to move to Nevada to avoid the condom law that says all actors should wear protection while engaging in a sex act on set on a California production studio.  Because of Nevada’s Sin City rep, I think many adult film producers figure that their  industry is a natural fit. Nope, say Nevada officials.  Just because we have legal brothels doesn’t mean we don’t have rules, they say.  The photo above is from Getty Images. Those below are from Marc McAndrews’ book Nevada Rose. He spent two years photographing Nevada’s brothels.  Here’s my story (Daily News, Jan. 2, 2015): 

Nevada health officials said this week they are considering enforcing the same regulations required of sex workers in brothels on the adult film industry, which has steadily migrated to the state.

The statement was made after California health officials issued an alert on Monday because an adult film performer in September tested positive for HIV after having unprotected sex with other male actors during two separate film shoots in Nevada. He had tested negative before the shoot but developed symptoms later.

“This alert publicizes the first well-documented case of occupational HIV transmission among actors in the adult film industry, and makes recommendations for preventing HIV transmission during the production of adult films,” according to a statement by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. “The public health investigation and the laboratory results provide very strong evidence that one actor transmitted HIV to another actor as a result of unprotected sex during a film shoot.”

Nevada officials said that since California enacted stricter laws related to worker safety and communicable disease prevention in the adult film industry, there has been an increase in production of such filming in Nevada.

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In 2012, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation supported and saw passage of Measure B, a Los Angeles County law that makes condoms mandatory on all adult film shoots, saying that performers deserve to be protected while working. The group is hoping to pass a similar law statewide to strengthen mandates under the state’s Occupational and Safety Health Administration.

But the Free Speech Coalition, a Canoga Park-based organization that represents the adult film industry, has said the testing protocols for sexually transmitted diseases are effective. On most sites, performers are tested every 14 days and are not supposed to work until they receive a clean bill of health. The industry also has said that condoms are impractical because they break and they ruin the aesthetics of sexual fantasy.

The shoot in Nevada occurred in September and is not an immediate threat, according to the Free Speech Coalition.

The group said when it had become aware that the actor might be infected, it called for a halt in production in September. The moratorium is voluntary, but the Free Speech Coalition said most production companies honor it.

While those on the Nevada shoot used HIV testing, it fell below the already established testing protocols, according to the Free Speech Coalition.

“Non-compliant shoots are one of the chief dangers of pushing the adult industry out of state, and outside the established testing protocol,” according to a Free Speech Coalition statement released this week. “Not only did this leave those who participated at risk, it made it much harder to track scene partners once the possible infection was discovered.”

Nevada’s workplace laws are similar to federal standards, which call for personal protective equipment, health officials there said.

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In August, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed its first complaint in Nevada against a San Francisco production company that made an adult film in Las Vegas in June.

The film, made for a website run by Kink.com studios, allegedly shows images of performers engaging in activities that “are highly likely to spread blood-borne pathogens and other potentially infectious materials,” according to AHF.

An investigation is underway, Nevada health officials said.

Nevada’s health regulations on licensed brothels require “each patron to wear and use a latex prophylactic while engaging in sexual intercourse, oral-genital contact or any touching of the sexual organs or other intimate parts of a person.”

In addition, “the person in charge of a licensed house of prostitution shall post a health notice. … The cost and mounting of the notice is the responsibility of the house of prostitution.”

Those in charge of the brothel have to report the presence of communicable diseases.

There are about two dozen legal brothels in Nevada.

“Agencies in Nevada and California have been working corroboratively to address this issue,” according to the statement by health officials from Nevada. “Nevada’s strict regulations of sex workers in brothels has resulted in no HIV transmissions in that setting. Nevada is determining if similar law is appropriate for the (adult film industry).”

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