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The Adult Film Industry Shuts Down Over Another HIV Scare, Prompting Calls For Condoms In Porn

By Tara Culp-Ressler  

"The Adult Film Industry Shuts Down Over Another HIV Scare, Prompting Calls For Condoms In Porn"

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The Free Speech Coalition, the advocacy group representing the adult film industry, has announced a moratorium on filming after another porn actor tested positive for HIV. It’s the third actor who has recently tested positive for the virus, and the second time within the past month that the industry has shut down over the issue.

The news is encouraging some HIV prevention advocates to renew the push for a statewide law requiring adult film actors to wear condoms on set. LA County passed its own “condoms in porn” law last year, and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been encouraging California lawmakers to expand it to apply to the rest of California. The advocacy group launched a robocall campaign at the end of last week to target Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D), who they believe is stalling that legislation.

LA County’s new condom requirement has sparked fierce debate, as porn producers claim it’s an unnecessary infringement into their freedom of speech. They point out that adult film stars already get tested about once a month to make sure they’re STD-free, and they think that’s a better way to ensure their sexual health than wearing latex. After an HIV scare back in 2004, the industry briefly used condoms on set, but gave up the practice after saying that type of porn wasn’t selling as well.

A group of porn industry members sued the county to prevent the new law from going into effect, and it’s still tied up in court.

The Free Speech Coalition has emphasized that the latest adult film actor to announce his HIV-positive status has not recently performed in any films, so he likely hasn’t spread the virus to other actors. Nonetheless, they instituted a moratorium just to be safe. “While we don’t have evidence to suggest an on set transmission as opposed to a transmission from non-industry (off-camera) related activity, we are taking every measure to determine the source and to protect the performer pool,” the coalition said in a statement.

But the AIDS Healthcare Foundation still insists it highlights the urgent need to start requiring condoms in porn. “We lay complete blame for this outbreak at the feet of Assemblymember Gatto, the pornographers, and Los Angeles County,” Michael Weinstein, the president of the group, said in a statement. “How many more before we act?”

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