250474 Bloodborne pathogens in the adult film industry: Worker health and safety issues

Monday, October 31, 2011

Peter R. Kerndt, MD, MPH , Sexually Transmitted Disease Program, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Los Angeles, CA
Rebecca Butler, AB , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, assigned to Sexually Transmitted Disease Program, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Adam Cohen, MPH , School of Public Health, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Mark McGrath, MPH , Sexually Transmitted Disease Program, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
The adult film industry (AFI) is a large, legal industry that generates at least $9 billion annually. The nature and duration of the sexual acts performed in adult films create conditions particularly conducive to the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Under current law, employers are required to protect workers from potential bloodborne pathogens. Nonetheless, the majority of AFI producers disregard legal requirements mandating barrier protection and adult film performers are consistently exposed to potentially infectious matter. Industry-adopted screening practices are insufficient when considering pathogen-specific incubation periods, time between screenings, and anatomic sites tested. As a result, many infections are undiagnosed. HIV infections have been repeatedly identified in heterosexual AFI performers in California. A 2010 outbreak is currently under investigation but has been restricted by industry attempts to limit public health access to employment, medical, and laboratory records.

Panelists will describe performer characteristics, infection surveillance data, public health challenges, and the role of academics in protecting performer health. The session will begin with a description of the personal health risks of performers as compared to the general population. We will next present surveillance data of STIs from performers screened. A current multi-jurisdictional investigation into potential STI/HIV transmissions within the AFI will be described, highlighting strategies and barriers in dealing with a challenging and diffuse industry. Finally, we will describe the efforts of an academic group to promote performer safety. Panelists will present proposed legislation and regulatory remedies to better protect workers.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the barriers for adult film performers to access a safe workplace, as per public health and OSHA standards. List the key findings and outcomes of public health studies regarding worker safety in the adult film industry.

Keywords: Sex Workers, Vulnerable Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Co-author presentation; directly involved in the investigation and analysisi of the data that willbe presented.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.