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Controversy Ignites After Adult Film Actress Tests Positive For HIV

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Published: Jun 21, 2009 8:05 pm
Controversy Ignites After Adult Film Actress Tests Positive For HIV

On Wednesday, June 10, the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM) confirmed that a Californian adult film actress had tested positive for HIV. The Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation is a clinic based in San Fernando Valley that serves the Southern California adult film industry. AIM provides testing, treatment, and counseling services for actors and actresses in this region.

This is the first publicly confirmed case of HIV in the Southern California industry since 2004, when a sudden outbreak halted adult film production for a month. At the time, Darren James, who had recently returned from filming in Brazil, tested positive for HIV and had also infected three other partners. There have been other cases of HIV in adult film performers since 2004, however there remains controversy amongst county health officials as to whether these individuals were actively performing at the time they were tested. Health officials believe that there were between 16 and 22 other such cases, but they have no way of verifying the performing status of these individuals at the given time.

The unidentified woman of the recent report underwent HIV testing on June 4, and later proceeded to perform on June 5. She received her positive test results on June 6. Each of the actress’ recent partners has undergone testing as well, and all have received negative test results. Nevertheless, AIM is encouraging these individuals to test again after two weeks because it can take up to 11 days post-contact for the test to show up positive. Additionally, those partners were suspended from performing until further test results are received.

The recent case has reignited a controversy that has been brewing for years between health officials and the adult film industry. County and state health officials are concerned that the adult film industry is not taking adequate safety measures to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, despite the 2004 outbreak and the recent case of HIV infection. In fact, Los Angeles County has been receiving clinical reports of 60 to 80 new cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea per month among the adult film community. According to officials from the California state Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), past investigations into porn production practices have found that condom usage is not popular in the industry, and efforts are not being made to train actors and actresses in safe filming practices.

However, the recent statement by the Executive Director of AIM, Dr. Sharon Mitchell, notes that “condoms as well are always available and recommended at AIM. We are not the Police department of the Industry, nor wish to be. Our Protocols are ‘Suggested Requirements’.” Dr. Mitchell also stated that the recent HIV infection case was not a major issue.

Although AIM has not filed an official report, LA county health officials are looking to launch an investigation. The California state Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) is also determined to launch an investigation in the near future.

For further information, please see the original article from the Los Angeles Times.

Photo by pedrosimoes7 on Flickr – some rights reserved.
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