Media reports that as many as 16 actors and actresses in the adult entertainment industry recently tested positive for HIV have prompted new calls for legislation requiring condom use in all porn videos shot in California.
Opponents to condom use include the multi-billion dollar adult entertainment industry, the Roman Catholic Church and visitors to The Shops in Mission Viejo.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) hosted a press conference, protest and rally Monday night in front of Larry Flynt's Hustler/Hollywood Store on the Sunset Strip to support the re-introduction of such legislation. In August 2004, Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-Los Angeles) threatened to write such a law if the porn industry did not address an HIV outbreak earlier that year. After initially seeming open to the idea, the industry just let it drop as many believed love gloves just weren't sexy on the screen.
This time around, the AHF is calling for a "condoms in porn" bill that would be drafted as a worker safety provision of California's Labor Code akin to how the Labor Code currently requires the use of hard hats and other garments and barriers as safely precautions on certain California work sites and locations. The stand was made at First Amendment champion Flynt's facility because Hustler is considered a "condom optional" production house. According to AHF, that really means: "Condoms allowed, but if you demand to use one, you probably won't be asked to work again!"
This latest dust up comes on the heels of Pope Benedict XVI saying condoms are not the answer to the AIDS epidemic in Africa and can make the problem worse. His first-ever statement on the issue managed to divide members of his own flock and especially Catholic clergy working with AIDS patients.
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Flynt and the pope share no love for the glove with shoppers who earlier this year lodged complaints with The Shops in Mission Viejo over the A/X Armani Exchange store displaying a giant red heart in a window behind the words "Give Love Get Love" and "Practice Safe Love Armani Exchange supports National AIDS Fund." Because the heart was made of hundreds of red, packaged condoms, whiners feared the sight of the display might prompt children to ask questions or have their heads filled with The Sex.