Porn Industry Shutdown: HIV Positive Performers

Nick Dimico

The porn industry in Los Angeles has closed its doors for the third time this year after a fifth performer reportedly tested positive for HIV.

The adult industry in L.A. has had quite the year after the law mandating the use of condoms on film sets sent many companies elsewhere for production.

“I have been in porn since April of 2012,” said Bryan Cole, 29, gay porn performer. “From what I know, a lot of studios require that you use condoms, if they are reputable, although bareback is becoming a trend in the industry. My partner, Trystan, and I feel that condoms should be mandatory at least for intercourse.”

On Saturday, the Free Speech Coalition (FSC), an association for porn performers, released a statement announcing the positive test of an unnamed performer and calling for a “production moratorium…until further notice”.

Gay porn performer Billy finds this shutdown to be quite upsetting due to the lack of education and care within the straight porn community.

“I think it’s dumb,” said Billy Santoro. “It seems the “straight” porn community isn’t educated about HIV. Nobody has forced me to do something on camera. I am an adult and I make my own decisions.”

There was an industry shutdown back in September for two weeks, after three performers tested positive for HIV. Then it shut down for one week in August after a female performer, Cameron Bay, announced that she had tested positive. One of the three performers who tested positive in September, Rod Daily, had been romantically involved with Bay.

In November of last year, Los Angeles County voters passed a bill mandating the use of condoms in adult films. In August, a district judge ruled the measure to be partly unconstitutional. It has been subject to ongoing lawsuits and has not been strictly enforced.

Three months ago, the FSC chief executive, Diane Duke, said, “We’re not against condoms. We’re against condoms being mandatory. Our performers prefer not to use condoms.”

“I don’t personally watch porn,” said Sammi Gunning, 21, English major. “But I think condoms should be mandatory because it’s common sense. Safe sex is how we avoid spreading STIs/STDs and condoms are the best way to stay safe when having sex with multiple partners.”

Announcing the latest positive test, Duke said, “There was a positive test at one of our testing centers. We are taking every precaution while we do research to determine if there’s been any threat to the performer pool. We take the health of our performers very seriously and felt that it was better to be on the side of caution while we determine whether anyone else may have been exposed.”

The FSC released a statement criticizing social media speculation about the identity of the performer, adding:

“On Friday, a performer who had worked in the adult industry tested positive for HIV during the mandated fourteen-day industry screening. Since then, there has been a lot of speculation about the performer – including a name – in both social media and on blogs, a fair amount of it unfounded and some of it ugly. The performer deserves privacy and dignity at this difficult time, and we ask that our colleagues and the media respect the performer’s wishes for privacy unless he or she wishes to speak.”

They said that due to HIPPA regulations, the PASS doctor working with the performer can not discuss any of the specifics, but they do insure that all people in association with the performer have been contacted and tested.

Currently, the positive performer is working closely with the testing doctors to determine the timeline of the virus, and to figure out how much of the performer pool was infected.

Many entertainment companies and adult testing facilities across the greater Los Angeles area are closed and currently taking no phone calls. Also, due to the shutdown straight porn performers were not able to comply for this article. Although this may be a temporary shutdown, the porn industry in LA is quite nervous about the end result that has yet to be announced, depending on when the FSC will have more information.

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