Pornography Industry Voluntarily Halts Production After Two Actors Test HIV-Positive
Several pornography companies have voluntarily agreed to halt production for at least 60 days after two actors tested HIV-positive, the Philadelphia Daily News reports (Philadelphia Daily News, 4/16). Actor Darren James, who had tested negative during routine testing every three weeks since 1999, this week tested positive (Hoffmann, New York Post, 4/16). Actress Lara Roxx, who had worked with James on at least one movie and previously had tested HIV-negative, also tested positive this week (Liu et al., Los Angeles Times, 4/16). At least 14 actresses may have been exposed to the virus through onscreen sex with James, as well as the actresses' 35 subsequent sex partners (Keating, Reuters/AP/Globe and Mail, 4/16). As a result, at least 45 actors and actresses are under a voluntary work quarantine and about 12 companies are adhering to a 60-day production moratorium until HIV testing is completed, industry experts said (Jablon, AP/Guardian, 4/16). Until this week, no porn actors had tested HIV-positive in the last four years, according to the Post (New York Post, 4/16). "Most of the people I have talked to are cooperating [with the quarantine]. There are a few people that won't. But if I find out there is talent working, I won't ever hire them again," Jill Kelly, founder of Jill Kelly Productions, said. "In the porn community itself, HIV is pretty much taken care of in the sense that we make sure everyone is tested," Director Corey Jordan said, adding, "Right now, it's not about money, it's about people's well-being" (Reuters/AP/Globe and Mail, 4/16). However, Vivid Entertainment Group, one of the largest adult-film production companies, said in a statement that it would continue filming, saying that the company instituted a mandatory condom policy six years ago and that its operation is "as safe as possible," according to the Los Angeles Daily News (Wilcox, Los Angeles Daily News, 4/15).
Public Health Implications
The Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation was established five years ago to provide screening and medical services to actors in the pornography industry in an effort to stem the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Any positive results are reported to the actors and their on-screen partners and are tracked in the industry's STD database (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/21/01). The industry recommends that all actors and actresses be tested for HIV every 30 days (Los Angeles Times, 4/16). "We're in really good shape as far as containment. This is early detection," AIM Co-Founder Sharon Mitchell, a former adult-film star, said (Los Angeles Daily News, 4/15). Los Angeles County Public Health Department Director Jonathan Fielding said that the agency does not consider the outbreak to be a public health threat "at this point" (Reuters/AP/Globe and Mail, 4/16). Fielding added, "This is another illustration that unless all the sex you're showing is safe, that actors will continue to be put at risk. Even good industry-wide efforts would be hard to be 100% successful because people are having sex outside the industry." Adult film actress Summer Tyme said, "I'm going to change the way I do things now. ... No money is worth risking your life" (Los Angeles Times, 4/16).