For years, the loudest arguments against expanding a landmark Los Angeles law requiring condom use by adult film actors in sex scenes to the rest of California were financial and geographic:
The pornography industry argued any locale requiring safety in filmed sex would see a production exodus and a big loss in revenue. The most likely place for porn producers to go was Las Vegas.
That city embraced the possibility of immigration by pornographers, its mayor even issuing a supportive statement. And some production quickly moved there.
Well, as the advertising slogan goes, what happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but its effects are not necessarily static.
Just one case of AIDS has changed a lot. It was diagnosed in an adult performer with a role in a movie that actually migrated there from the porn industry’s longtime capital in the San Fernando Valley.
As soon as reports of the porn actor’s infection became public late last fall, Nevada officials announced they will probably apply their brothel rules to film production sites. Legal prostitutes in Nevada get regular blood tests and health exams; male customers are required to use condoms for any interpersonal contact involving even one person’s genitalia. Since 1988, when those rules took effect, not one AIDS case has been tied to a legal Nevada brothel.
Meanwhile, when porn actors’ health was monitored voluntarily by California producers, more than 25 cases were linked to porn shoots.
And chances are it will pass [in California], once qualified. A poll of more than 1,100 likely voters last fall found 71 percent support. If voters are informed that opposition ads are funded by pornographers, as likely will happen, that initial support won’t erode much.
The bottom line: One AIDS case in Las Vegas has largely removed the arguments that such a measure would lead both to financial loss for California and continued use of unsafe sex in adult films. So this is one initiative that will likely qualify easily for the ballot, and then pass late next year.
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