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Immediate and indefinite moratorium: Porn shoots on hold after performer tests positive for HIV

Published time: August 29, 2014 20:22
AFP Photo / William Thomas Cain

AFP Photo / William Thomas Cain

Pornography production in the United States has effectively been put on hold this week after one of the largest trade groups in the industry called for a voluntary moratorium on filming because an adult performer tested positive for HIV.

The group, the Free Speech Coalition, said on Thursday this week that the preliminary results of an unnamed performer’s recent test came back positive, and that as a result all filming should halt immediately and indefinitely until further analyses are available.

“There was a positive test at one of our testing centers,” FSC CEO Diane Duke said in a statement. “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.”

“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,” Duke added. “We want to make sure all performers are protected. The performers’ health and safety is the most important thing.”

This week’s decision to call for a hold on production marks the third time in only a year that a moratorium has been announced as a result of issues concerning the highly transmittable immunodeficiency virus: similar pauses in filming occurred twice last summer after a performer, then two others, tested positive for HIV.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which fought and won to have a law passed in late 2012 requiring condoms for porn actors in Los Angeles city and county, called the latest news a "tragic" repeat of last year’s cases, according to the Associated Press. An effort to pass a similar bill for all of California was shelved in the State Senate only two weeks ago.

The Los Angeles Times added this week that the last moratorium ended last September, but filming resumed only after the FSC adopted new protocols requiring performers to be tested twice as frequently — once every 14 days. Another HIV scare in 2011 prompted the placement of a moratorium, but additional testing of that actor turned up negative.

According to the trade group, the next steps after calling for a moratorium involve performing additional tests and identifying any first generation partners of the performer in question.

“All performers who have worked with and /or had sexual contact with the performer 14 days prior to the positive performer’s last negative HIV test to present are retested,” the FSC’s rules read in part. “Once all performers who the positive performer worked with or had sexual contact with test negative, the moratorium is lifted with the provision that all performers must retest — 14 days after the date the positive performer received his/her positive results or the date of the positive performer’s last sexual encounter with a performer.”

Several X-rated production houses have since acknowledged that they are heeding the FSC’s call for a moratorium, and the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, a group that “advocates to maintain and improve safety and working conditions in the adult film industry by giving adult performers organized representation in matters that affect our health, safety and community,” according to their website, has also asked for all performers to abide by the trade group’s request.

“This request to honor the current moratorium is made for the safety of our community as a whole and for your safety. Regardless of your feelings towards the FSC or any other entity in the adult film industry, we believe this is the right thing to do,” the APAC said this week. “Moratoriums are an opportunity for performers to be a voice of reason and stability about sexual health, to educate ourselves, and to show care for each other.”

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