Weinstein, AHF and Misinformation about Condoms in Nevada Brothels

Michael Weinstein often cites the stellar track record that the brothels have in Nevada in regards to stopping the transmission of HIV since they began mandatory condom use in 1987. Since then there has not been one recorded transmission of HIV in a brothel. However, Mr. Weinstein is being disingenuous with his statement since there is actually no way to actually know that.

In Nevada, customers are NEVER tested for STIs or HIV. Therefore, if clients are not tested there is no actual way of knowing if an HIV transmission has occurred in a brothel in Nevada. That would require testing 100% of the sex workers and clients.

Weinstein is also not telling the voters that a woman with herpes and vaginal warts can legally work in the brothels in Nevada Please see: NevadaDeptHealthMeeting ). The brothels only test for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea. Therefore, there is also no way to know how many cases of herpes and vaginal warts that have been transmitted between sex workers and customers in Nevada’s legal brothels since condoms are not very effective at preventing herpes/warts transmission depending on were on the body the sores are located.

Weinstein is also comparing apples to oranges when comparing adult production to commercial sex work in brothels. In 2006, Rick Reich, Communicable Disease / AIDS Services Supervisor for Nevada’s Clark County Health Department, said;

“[W]e test these people so often, it’s almost like we over-test them. That doesn’t stop the infections from coming into the brothels by the customers.  That’s where the mandatory condom use comes in.”

(Please see: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/02/09/resisting-sex-panic-sex-workers-struggle-evidencebased-regulation-nevada )

Condoms are being used to protect the sex workers from clients not from themselves or each other.

Dr. Randall Todd, Director of the Division of Epidemiology for Washoe County District Health Department in Nevada, echoed the fact that it is the public/husbands/boyfriends that transmitted an STI to a brothel sex worker;

[…]99 percent of the time, a legal prostitute likely got the STD from a husband or boyfriend, through ‘extracurricular’ sex, outside the brothel.”

( Please see: http://prostitution.procon.org/view.source.php?sourceID=000618 )

However, according to Weinstein any porn performer that tests positive for any STIs must have contracted it on set from a co-star. There is little to no proof as to where a performer contracted an STI with any certainty. The transmission could have been on set or it could have come from a husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend as suggested by Dr. Todd in regards to brothel workers.

Further, the adult entertainment industry is not open to the public despite all the claims that Weinstein makes to the possibility of performer’s escorting on the side in addition to shooting scenes. Performers do not need to be protected from the general public on a porn set.

What Weinstein also isn’t telling the voters is that the sex-workers themselves pushed for mandatory condoms in the Nevada’s brothels. Condoms were not forced upon them by the government and special interest. According to a 2009 article authored by Melissa Gira Grant on RHRealityCheck.org;

The one existing Nevada brothel regulation that effectively keeps sex workers safe was pushed for by workers themselves — a statewide mandatory condom policy.  Sex workers had been demanding that condom use be made mandatory across the brothel system in order to make uniform the safety practices they already knew worked best[…]

(Please see: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/02/09/resisting-sex-panic-sex-workers-struggle-evidencebased-regulation-nevada )

It appears that the brothel owners themselves welcomed mandatory condoms since their business had declined by up to 40% after the HIV/AIDs scare in the early to mid-1980s. They wanted to keep a competitive advantage so they agreed to condoms ( Please see: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/02/09/resisting-sex-panic-sex-workers-struggle-evidencebased-regulation-nevada ).

In the adult industry condoms could cause just the opposite, it could kill off all production in California.

Obviously. there are few parallels between the brothels in Nevada and porn production industry in California when it comes to condoms and testing. Weinstein and AHF continue to cite the excellent track record of condom use in brothels when discussing condoms in porn but there is little scientific evidence to back up their position.


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