Disease disrupts porn production

HIV outbreak threatens future of two companies

By: Rébecca Phaneuf-Thibault

An adult industry entertainer has triggered two porn companies, Wicked Pictures and Vivid Entertainment, to postpone production after being tested HIV positive last week.

Steven Hirsch, the founder of Vivid Entertainment Group, was reported by the Globe and Mail to have said that at least another five companies have shut down production while waiting on further testing from other actors that might also have been infected. More companies are expected to follow.

This is far from being the first incident of the sort to create disruption in the porn industry.

In 2004, an HIV epidemic briefly stirred up panic in the field and caused a number of productions to shut down in California studios. Once there’s a single case of HIV in a studio, it will spread quickly During an on-camera sex session 14 people were estimated to have been infected from one male actor.

Adult entertainment workers are 10 times more likely to be infected by sexually-transmitted diseases, yet, even knowing this, there are no official regulations making the use of protection compulsory.

“I deliver what the consumer wants,” Larry Flynt, a major adult film producer told the BBC in reference to the lack of condom usage in his pictures. He stated that viewers are turned-off by the sight of them.

Only one in five actors in the heterosexual adult entertainment industry uses condoms.

Los Angeles legal regulations obligate porn actors to get tested for HIV and other STDs 30 days before a production, but they found that having regulations on condom usage would be too difficult to enforce.

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the Los Angeles public health chief, told the LA Times in February that “It is very, very difficult to implement. There are roughly 200 production companies with about 1,200 actors. All you need is a room and a camera and a bed, basically, to do this kind of shoot, and we have no ability to police this.”

Jennifer Miller, a clinic spokeswoman who is a part of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation, shared with the BBC that although the actor’s name and gender is staying confidential, there are efforts being made to contact and inform other performers that have been in contact with the individual.

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