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Health organization says HIV infections in porn industry contained

Health organization says HIV infections in porn industry contained

The Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, an organization founded by former porn star Sharon Mitchell that works to ensure straight porn performers are free of sexually transmitted diseases, on Thursday said a recent spate of HIV infection in the adult film industry has been contained. Last week porn actor Darren James and actress Lara Roxx tested positive for HIV, and nearly 60 actors and actresses who've had sex with them or their sex partners have voluntarily stopped working until they are confirmed to be HIV-negative. Production on straight adult porn films also has shut down for at least 60 days at about a dozen companies, but gay porn industry officials say condom-use requirements on most gay porn sets have allowed gay adult film actors to escape the current HIV scare. Gay porn productions are unaffected by the moratorium on filming, directors Chi Chi LaRue and Tony Alizzi told Advocate.com. Mitchell said four of the exposed performers have already tested negative for HIV, and because all of the involved actors possibly exposed to the virus have agreed to stop working, the infection is effectively contained. "We are very confident that people are safe," AIM board chairman Ira Levine said at a press conference. "No additional transmissions of HIV from these cases are expected, either in the adult performer talent pool or in the community at large." AIM and other porn industry officials also sharply criticized investigations by the Los Angeles County health department and the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) into the HIV outbreak, which included forcing AIM to turn over the legal names of 53 adult film actors and actresses to county health authorities. Health department officials say they requested the legal names in order to contact them and anyone outside of the adult film industry they may have had sex with. "We consider this a violation of our clients' medical privacy," Levine said. Mitchell said the fear of public disclosure of HIV test results could discourage adult film performers from voluntary HIV testing. Currently, about 1,200 adult film actors undergo monthly testing for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis at AIM, and many production companies require the performers to show their test results before filming. Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, in an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times, warned that government regulation of the porn industry would "not only be unnecessary, it would be counterproductive" and force the largely California-based industry underground or to a state that won't require on-set health protections of any kind. Because of AIM's efforts, he wrote, people have a "greater likelihood of getting HIV from your neighbor, who is not tested on a regular basis, than from a performer in the industry whose medical records are, in effect, an open book." He concluded, "The safeguards are already in place [and] have worked for the last five years. Leave them alone and they will continue to work."

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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