Porn film clinic ordered shut
Los Angeles - A clinic for actors in the US porn movie industry was ordered closed on Thursday, one day after an HIV positive actor blasted it for failing to help him properly.
The Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM) lacked the correct licence to operate as a medical clinic, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The announcement came after 24-year-old porn actor Derrick Burts spoke for the first time since his HIV positive test, carried out at the AIM clinic in October, triggered a suspension of porn film production.
"By state law, all facilities that provide medical services are regulated by the state to ensure that they meet appropriate standards to provide medical care," local health officials said in a statement.
"AIM does not have a licence to operate a medical clinic. Today's cease-and-desist order means that AIM must stop providing medical services until it has obtained the appropriate licence from the state."
There was no immediate reaction from AIM to the closure order, although it claimed Burts's comments were "not truthful and are self-serving," saying he was being "manipulated" by another Aids group.
At least four major film producers suspended filming in October while AIM performed tests on all the actor's known partners. Production resumed a few weeks later.
The HIV case was the first in over a year in the industry, and comes six years after up to 14 actors tested HIV positive, forcing several film firms to close.
Burts, who had only been acting in porn movies for seven months, lashed out at industry bosses and the AIM clinic in particular, saying they had left him for a month and a half without treatment.
"People who are behind the industry, the big shots, they need to come up with a system that works, that protects their performers," he told an emotional press conference, speaking for the first time since the scare erupted.
He also called for mandatory condoms in all porn movies, saying regular testing was not enough to protect performers from contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or HIV, which leads to Aids.
The order to close the clinic was welcomed by the Aids Healthcare Foundation, which has slammed AIM for its slow response to the Aids threat in the porn industry.
"After years of total inaction, Los Angeles County officials have finally shut down AIM - the porn industry's sham clinic," the foundation's president Michael Weinstein said.
"Now it's time for the county to go after the producers themselves who have been operating with impunity outside the law.
"Public health officials must shut down every permitted adult film shoot in Los Angeles County until the industry complies with state and federal laws requiring condom use," he added.
AIM - still referring to Burts as "Patient Zeta" out of concern for patient confidentiality - said it offered him "counselling... test results and information and direction regarding resources and treatment."
"Any statements made by Patient Zeta which portray AIM as not providing appropriate and proper services are not truthful and are self-serving," it added.
AIM also claimed Weinstein's group "has a history of aggressive and hostile actions against AIM, and the most distressing aspect of this situation is that Patient Zeta is simply being manipulated for AHF's own purposes and in furtherance of their agenda."