Should porn stars have to wear condoms?

So, admittedly, I lived in the porn capital of the world for a few months, the San Fernando Valley, when I first moved to California. I did not come in contact (giant sigh of relief) with the famed Ron Jeremy or Jenna Jamison in my brief stint in the Valley; however, the tales (tails) of the industry did not escape me: They don't use condoms during their films.

A recent NPR article noted that a group called the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been lobbying to make condom use in porn films mandatory. The porn industry has long resisted the rubber movement (apparently condoms = not so interesting films).

Steve Hirsch, the CEO of the Vivid Video, the San Fernando Valley studio that has produced such films as All Star Big Butts, Debbie Does Dallas Again and the Better Bosom Bureau, is not aroused with the idea. According to the article, Hirsch fears that the rubber restrictions would wipe out the region's multibillion-dollar adult film industry.

Hirsch points out that it would be "hard on" California , where unemployment currently tops 12 percent, and warns that people will go other places to shoot, which could cause the industry to move out of state, resulting in more job loss for California .

His solution: STD testing. Here is the current STD testing protocol for his company:

o Performers get tested for HIV and other diseases every 30 days (Um, what about the 29 days in between when they are still having unprotected sex?)

o Sex toys will be disposed of after one use (this ought to do the trick)

o Condoms will be made available to all performers (most of which will remain in the shiny packaging and never get used)

In sum, mandatory condoms basically translate into fewer sales and at a time when the economy is in turmoil, the porn industry chances life-threatening diseases such as HIV for the sake of not losing more jobs. Really?

On the flip side, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein argues, "We know that testing, while important, is not a substitute for condom use." He also pointed out the alarming statistic that since 2004, nearly two dozen adult film performers in Southern California have tested positive for HIV. My guess is that it had nothing to do with the throwaway toys.

And so we ask…do we risk job loss or do we risk life loss?