June 18, 2009 / 8:25 PM / 10 years ago

U.S. porn industry HIV cases prompt investigation

* Investigators conduct surprise inspection of clinic

* Undisclosed HIV cases raise porn industry concerns

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES, June 18 (Reuters) - California health officials are investigating the Los Angeles clinic where a pornographic film actress recently tested positive for HIV, saying it has failed to alert local authorities to cases of sexually transmitted disease in the adult film industry.

Investigators from the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health on Wednesday conducted a surprise inspection of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation in suburban Los Angeles as part of the investigation.

The clinic tests performers in the $12 billion-a-year U.S. adult film industry, which is largely centered in the San Fernando Valley suburbs of Los Angeles, and issues work certificates for those who come up clean.

"We are investigating the clinic," Cal-Osha spokeswoman Erika Monterroza told Reuters.

"All talent goes through them for monthly testing and it seems like this clinic had received positive results for HIV as well as other sexually transmitted diseases and didn’t report them to the county health department," Monterroza said.

The inspection comes a week after Los Angeles health authorities disclosed that there had been 16 unpublicized cases of HIV among porn performers since 2004.

Officials also expressed dismay that the unnamed actress who was found to be positive for HIV on June 4 was allowed to work the following day before taking second and third tests.

Monterroza said the AIM clinic had refused to tell county and state health authorities the name of the production company that filmed the actress after she had tested positive.

If AIM Healthcare was found to be in violation of state health laws, she said, Cal-Osha could issue an order shutting down the clinic.

Health officials now say 22 porn performers have tested positive for HIV, including five during a 2004 outbreak that prompted tougher testing and reporting rules.

Since then 1,357 porn performers have tested positive for gonorrhea and 15 for syphilis, according to county health data cited by the Los Angeles Times.

The porn industry includes about 1,200 actors employed by 200 production companies. (Editing by Alan Elsner)

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