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June 11, 2009

Female Porn Star Tests Positive, Rekindles Industry Safety Debate

An unnamed porn actress in Southern California has tested positive for HIV, renewing health concerns over whether the adult entertainment industry is protecting its performers from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, the Los Angeles Times reports. None of the partners she has performed with has tested positive.

According to the article, this is the first publicly reported case of a porn star testing positive in Southern California since 2004, when an actor, Darren James, returned from working in Brazil and transmitted HIV to three actresses he was working with. A transgender performer unrelated to the other cases also tested HIV positive.

Sharon Mitchell, founder of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation—a San Fernando–based clinic that treats adult-film stars—said the clinic recently altered its policies on disclosure of new cases and that it now handles each case privately unless there is a widespread issue.

 Even though the clinic is downplaying this incident, health officials are launching a new investigation on porn industry safety, particularly the use of condoms during filming.

Clinics in Los Angeles County report 60 to 80 new cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea a month among adult performers.

“You wouldn’t send someone to work on a high-rise building without a hard hat, so why are we allowing these performers to perform without condoms?” said Jonathan Fielding, MD, health officer for Los Angeles County.

The adult clinic’s guidelines recommend HIV testing every 30 days. However, Fielding argues, it may take nine to 11 days after exposure for the virus to appear on test results.

“Let’s say you were infected on Monday, tested on Wednesday and perform on Friday. You would show up as negative, but you’re not negative,” Fielding said.

Search: pornography, adult film, porn star, Southern California, Darren James, Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation


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