Feature

The porn star AIDS scare

A new HIV case, and 16 newly disclosed cases from the past four years, rock Southern California’s adult-film industry.

What happened
After a female porn star tested positive for the AIDS virus at a California adult-film clinic last week, Los Angeles public health officials disclosed 16 previously unpublicized HIV cases among porn actors. That brings to 22 the number of known HIV cases since a small outbreak shut down Southern California’s porn industry for a month in 2004. (Los Angeles Times, )

What the commentators said
“Rumor is rampant when the words 'HIV' and 'porn' are in the same sentence,” said Dr. Sharon Mitchell of the Adult Industry Medical (AIM) clinic, which tests porn actors. And these stories draw the media “like moths to a flame.” But while we’re awaiting final confirmation on the new possible infection, there’s no sign that “patient Zero” spread the disease to any “industry partner” or her boyfriend.

But there are reports that “patient Zero” was allowed to work the day after her first positive test, said Kim LaCapria in The Inquisitr, so you can understand the “porn-industry panic.” Let’s hope things are better than in 2004, when only two of the San Fernando Valley’s 200 porn production companies required performers to use condoms.

Don’t bet on it, said Zach Behrens in LAist. California has laws prohibiting the exchange of bodily fluids at a workplace, but some health and porn experts fear that if those laws are “harshly enforced,” the porn industry will go underground, shun the AIM clinic, and become “more of a breeding ground for disease.”

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