SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. – A day after county health officials backed away from an earlier claim that 18 adult performers had contracted HIV since 2004, health and safety officials from the state staged a surprise visit Wednesday afternoon to the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM).
The clinic has been publicly chastised by state and county health officials for being “uncooperative” since announcing last week that a female adult performer had tested positive for HIV and exposed several other performers and one non-performer to the virus before she could be notified.
According to an article posted to the LA Times website late Wednesday, state officials were tired of what they perceived to be a slow response from AIM to their demands for information regarding the recent case. The state also is seeking information about all cases of HIV infection that AIM, which tests both performers and civilians for STDs and HIV, has reported to county health officials.
The clinic’s director, Sharon Mitchell, has claimed all along that last week’s apparent infection is the first of an adult performer since 2004 and that the clinic has strictly adhered to all notification protocols.
Despite those assurances and the admission Tuesday by Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county’s health officer, that in HIV cases the responsibility for notification rests not the county but with the patients’ medical clinic or doctor, state health officials felt that immediate action was required. They told the Times that had AIM employees not let them in, they were prepared to go to court to obtain a warrant to gain access to the clinic.
“The response was fairly good,” Amy Martin, special counsel to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, told the Times. “They allowed our people to do a walk-around. They allowed them to speak to employees. There was no exchange of documents yet. There will be in the future and we’ll see how that goes.”
According to the Times, OSHA will “issue subpoenas this week demanding access to patient records.”
AIM has not issued or posted a comment on the inspection, but the clinic’s attorney, Mark Levinson, told the Times, “It’s strange that this happened at this particular moment, but it’s their right and we have nothing to hide.” He said he could not comment on requests to turn over documents until he receives the subpoenas.