HIV case prompts industry-wide moratorium on porn filming

August 29, 2014

An HIV test. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

The porn industry’s trade association has called for an indefinite industry-wide halt on adult film production after a pornographic actor tested positive for HIV.

“Confirmatory tests are not yet back, but we are taking every precaution to protect performers and to determine if there’s been any threat to the performer pool,” Diane Duke, executive director of the trade group Free Speech Coalition, said in a statement on Thursday. “We take the health of our performers very seriously and felt that it was better to err on the side of caution while we determine whether anyone else may have been exposed.”

It is, the Los Angeles Times reported, “the third such voluntary moratorium announced in the last year prompted by HIV concerns.” Last year, the association called for two industry-wide production moratoriums, when at least three adult film actors tested positive for HIV.

At the time, the Free Speech Coalition required performers to take STD tests every 28 days; but the HIV outbreak last year prompted the association to change its policy to test actors once every 14 days.

The current shutdown comes just two weeks after California legislators killed a bill that would have required adult film actors to use condoms on set. The Free Speech Coalition opposed the bill, arguing that its testing methods were already working, and that such a requirement would move jobs out of the state and push porn filming underground, making it less safe for performers.

Los Angeles County passed a law requiring condoms on porn sets in 2012; since then, the Los Angeles Times reported, X-rated production permits in the county have dropped by 90 percent.

According to the trade association’s Web site, moratoriums are called when a currently active performer tests positive for HIV and has “worked with anyone from two weeks prior to his or her last negative HIV test to the date his or her positive result came back.” A doctor determines whether a moratorium is warranted and then instructs Duke to call it.

Such shutdowns aren’t required by law, but the industry typically abides by them, according to the Associated Press.

In a statement Thursday, Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, lashed out at the porn industry and California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, saying: “How many more infections will it take before the industry will follow the law on condom use and that regulators like Cal/OSHA will act on updating its existing Bloodborne Pathogens regulations on these sets? … Don’t we ever learn?”

RELATED:

How making actors wear condoms could kill California’s porn business

Elahe Izadi is a general assignment national reporter for The Washington Post.
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