LOS ANGELES—For reasons that remain unclear, an email showed up Thursday afternoon in an AVN mailbox from a company called ResearchGate titled “The full-text you requested has been uploaded.” Now, we didn’t recall having requested the “full-text” of anything, but when we opened it, what should appear but a June 2017 article by three AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) employees and affiliates titled, “Advocacy Coalition for Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry: The Case of Los Angeles County’s Measure B.”
The article, by Adam Carl Cohen, an AHF employee; Dr. Paula Tavrow, an affiliate of UCLA’s pro-mandatory condom Reproductive Health Interest Group (RHIG), which AHF largely controlled; and Mark Roy McGrath, who’s listed as an “independent researcher” but who was (and possibly still is) an RHIG member and also an AHF employee, purports to trace the development of AHF’s only successful attempt to legislate condoms and other “protective measures” onto the adult film industry (AFI)—and as with much of what AHF has written and said on this subject, there are plenty of misstatements of fact and even a few outright lies, beginning with the first sentence in the “Background” section: “Performers in the adult film industry are routinely exposed to bloodborne pathogens.”
If the authors of this article had spent even minimal time researching the adult industry, they would have discovered that for the past several years—and most assuredly in 2017—the industry has used the Performer Availability Screening Services (PASS) system and its similar predecessor APHSS, where performers, in order to work on adult video productions, must undergo a battery of tests for the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and if even one test is positive, that performer is barred from performing and is given treatment to clear the infection. Such infections are rare, so the phrase “routinely exposed” is mere hyperbole on the authors’ part.
But the primary purpose of this article seems to be to justify AHF’s meddling in the adult video industry’s business, and contains plenty of self-congratulatory phrases such as, “advocates decided to adopt a long-term strategy that would begin at the local level and gradually grow—starting with a city ballot measure, then a county ballot measure, and finish at the state level. This step-by-step strategy entailed considerable time and expense, but the advocacy coalition recognized that taking the issue directly to the voters might be more likely to succeed than efforts to persuade legislators to take up the bill. Also, AHF was willing to commit major financial resources (about $1 million) and staff to the campaign because promoting condoms in the AFI would raise public awareness of the importance of safer sex.”