Talent Testing Service, APHSS Stuck in Stalemate Over Performer Testing
LOS ANGELES — Talent Testing Service CEO Sixto Pacheco told XBIZ Thursday that belonging to the Free Speech Coalition’s Adult Performer Health & Safety Services (APHSS) approved list of performer testing labs is “not in the best interest” of TTS.
APHSS is a service administered by the Free Speech Coalition in order to provide adult industry producers and performers with a reliable protocol and database for STI testing and implementation and oversight of industry safeguards in the event of an HIV positive performer.
APHSS was created to fill the gap left by the closure of the AIM Healthcare clinic, and to carry on health and safety protocols for adult productions.
TTS for several years has been one of the most utilized adult performer testing services as it administers both the Aptima HIV-1 RNA Qualitative Assay and the Abbott RealTime HIV 1 Assay HIV PCR tests.
The question of why TTS is not an APHSS-approved facility was raised several times on Tuesday during a private meeting of producers about industry testing procedures and labs.
“When APHSS was formed we were contacted by [FSC Executive Director] Diane Duke to become part of the program,” Pacheco said. “We felt at that time (and still do) that belonging to an organization that is controlled by a lobbying group was not (and still is not) in the best interest for Talent Testing Service Inc., its clients and/or stakeholders. We believe that the health testing facility should be completely unbiased and non-affiliated with any industry-related party that could cause a conflict of interest. As such we decline to be a part of this program.”
FSC’s Duke responded on behalf of APHSS.
“After speaking with countless producers and performers, FSC agreed to organize APHSS,” Duke said. “The idea was to build on AIM’s program and learn from their mistakes. FSC understood that having many providers would make it difficult for anti-industry zealots like [AIDS Healthcare Foundation] to target one facility. Talent Testing was testing some industry performers and naturally FSC contacted TTS as a potential provider.”
Duke said that among several issues she and Pacheco discussed would be if TTS was willing to talk to FSC’s attorneys in the event that Cal/OSHA came to them demanding all patient records.
“I made it clear that there would be no cost for speaking to the attorney, and that the purpose of the conversation would be to determine if Cal/OSHA had a right to the records,” Duke said. “I asked the question because Cal/OSHA, had in fact, demanded all of AIM’s patient records. At the time I asked Sixto the question, an injunction blocking Cal/OSHA from accessing AIM’s performer records was in force. Cal/OSHA lost the case, the injunction was made permanent and Cal/OSHA had to pay the attorney fees to ACLU who represented AIM in the case.”
Duke said at that time Pacheco declined to speak with FSC’s attorneys in the event Cal/OSHA demanded patient records.
“FSC takes performer privacy seriously and wanted to make sure that their patient records would not be unnecessarily compromised by anyone — including the government,” Duke said.
Pacheco confirmed that he declined FSC’s request. “Ms. Duke wanted us to not provide patient test results before we spoke to FSC’s attorneys,” Pacheco said. “We indicated to her that us as a testing laboratory would be in violation of the law and we would not do this with or without the advice of her attorneys. As such we declined her offering to speak to her attorneys. We have our own counsel.”
Duke explained that her dialogue with TTS continued after that.
“Encouraged by some industry agents to continue the conversation with TTS, FSC met with TTS a few more times in an attempt to determine if TTS met the basic requirements to be an APHSS provider,” Duke said.
“One criterion for participation in APHSS includes the requirement that the provider have a doctor licensed in each state of service to order tests. FSC has determined that this is essential for the well-being of performers in case of positive results and is required by law in many states.
“Last month in Miami, TTS was asked for specific assurances that it met that requirement. I formed the opinion, based upon Sixto’s response, that TTS does not meet the licensed doctor requirement of APHSS.” Pacheco told XBIZ that TTS’s provider list is confidential. He also said, “Most of our associated facilities are doctor’s offices, urgent care centers and alike which have onsite medical personnel in order to perform the required services to our clientele.”
Duke added, “As far as FSC being a ‘lobbying organization,’ it is indeed one of the many hats FSC wears. Our mission is to ‘lead, protect and support the growth and well-being of the adult entertainment community.’ We are proud to advocate for each and every member of this community whether it be in the halls of the Capitol in D.C. or a clinic in the San Fernando Valley. We have the industry’s back.”