HIV-Positive Performer Shuts Down L.A. Porn Industry

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The adult entertainment industry has had its share of sexual health scares. In 1998, veteran porn actor Mark Wallice tested HIV-positive after reputedly hiding his positive status for two years and infecting several co-stars. In 2004, Darren James spread the virus to three women, shutting down film production industrywide for a month. And in 2009, a positive HIV test for a performer known only as "Patient Zero" sparked a legal battle between the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health and AIM Medical Associates over performers' rights to medical privacy.

ABCNews.com spoke to several performers who favor mandatory testing over mandatory condom use.

Bobbi Starr, a relative newcomer with five years in the industry, said she wouldn't work with someone with a troubling sexual health history -- or who didn't use a condom. And Nina Hartley, a veteran porn performer with 27 years in the industry and a degree in nursing, argued that condoms make on-set sex uncomfortable and possibly more dangerous.

"I would say it's different in a civilian population," said Hartley. "But public health is not served by forcing a small group of professionals to use condoms instead of being tested."

The new HIV case brings all these issues to the fore again.

"There really cannot be an argument over the fact that these performers would be far safer if they used condoms," said Weinstein. "We take no comfort whatsoever in this new case. We simply hope that this ongoing tide will prick the conscience of policymakers and make them more aggressive in taking action on the recklessness of the adult film industry."

Condom Measure Could Be on City Ballot

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is lobbying for a measure on L.A.'s June 2012 ballot that would mandate condom use in porn productions that seek city film permits.

"This is a tragedy, and we don't want to see one more person become infected with HIV or any other disease," Weinstein said.

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