Actor's Positive HIV Test Disrupts Filming as Clinic Traces On-Screen Sex Partners

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She and Deborah Gold, chief safety engineer for Cal-OSHA, said testing often identifies infections one or two weeks after they've been transmitted, too late for the rapid medical treatment called post-exposure prophylaxis, which has been proven to prevent HIV in people with known exposures.

Porn Actors May Face Anti-Condom Pressure

Major production companies have steadfastly maintained that actors are independent contractors, rather than company employees, so the companies need not require them to use "personal protective equipment" such as condoms and dental dams.

Company executives say they make condoms available if actors insist but, in interviews this week, several offered myriad reasons why they're not used. These range from male and female actors' complaints that the latex is irritating, to a belief that audiences don't want to see condoms on-screen.

"If you mandate condoms, this industry will go underground immediately," said Steve Hirsch, founder of Vivid Entertainment, one of the most successful adult entertainment enterprises and a "condom-optional company."

Health Regulators: Porn Industry Is Breaking the Law

"Every time a production company makes a film and the actors engage in unprotected penetrative sex, they are violating our regulation," Martin of the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health said. "It's already been determined that ... workers in this industry are employees. We have said over and over again: You are currently required to wear condoms.

"We've cited at least six employers for failing to do so. They all settled with us. We have never vacillated from the position, that the law applies to this industry and the law is absolutely clear."

Gold of Cal-OSHA said, "We have a commitment to this process ... so if there is a way to improve protection for employees of the industry, we're going to look at it."

Anti-porn crusader Shelley Lubben, a former prostitute and porn actress who founded the faith-based, nonprofit Pink Cross Foundation in Bakersfield, will attend the Oct. 25 hearing, "along with a fresh group of recovering porn stars who will talk about their diseases."

"The women are all victims," said Lubben, whose years on adult film sets left her with herpes and early cervical cancer. "No one told me this would happen. I paid a great price."

Lubben said she will ask regulators to shut down the industry "until it can operate like any other workplace in California. When it can comply, like any other hospital, restaurant, anybody else ... with California state laws, then there isn't a health and safety issue anymore and I can go on to [fighting] prostitution."

New HIV Case Has Industry-Wide Implications

Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation said the only adequate response to the newly revealed issues prompted by patient zero's HIV test would be an industry-wide shutdown of productions. His concerns are based on sobering statistics about sexually transmitted diseases among adult film actors in greater Los Angeles.

In a documented 1998 HIV outbreak, one male performer was believed to have infected up to six on-screen female partners. In 2004, a male performer infected three female performers. In 2009, HIV was reported in another adult film performer, but there were no reports of spread within the adult film community, which at any given time numbers about 2,000, 75 percent of whom are women.

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