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

Porn Industry Shut Down After HIV Scare
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A porn actor's positive HIV test, which prompted a temporary shutdown of Los Angeles' billion-dollar adult film industry Monday night, has reignited the debate over mandatory condom use in X-rated productions.

The HIV scare comes less than one month after the launch of a new online sexual health database aimed at preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among porn actors through mandatory testing. To be listed in the database -- a requisite for getting work -- porn actors must get tested every 30 days and present a clean bill of health. But critics say routine testing does not prevent STDs from creeping in.

"Testing is not a substitute for condom use, and it never will be," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles. "No test can detect HIV from the moment of infection. There will always be a window period," which might not reflect recent infection.

The Free Speech Coalition, the industry trade group behind the database, announced the positive HIV test and requested the voluntary production moratorium Monday. A spokeswoman did not immediately respond to ABCNews.com's request for comment.

The positive test results will be confirmed by more sensitive testing methods, but details of the case, including the performer's name, age and sex, will not be released. It is also unclear how many sexual partners might be at risk.

"The average American male has seven female sexual partners in a lifetime. But it's possible for a male to have seven sexual partners in a single day on porn movie set," said Weinstein. "Because this is a network that's kind of inbred, the spread of disease could be exponential."

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is pushing for mandatory condom use in the making of adult films -- a move that's met with strong resistance from the industry itself.

"If the market would accept condom-positive movies, that's what we would all be making. The fact is consumers don't want that," Christian Mann, general manger of Evil Angel Productions and unpaid Free Speech Coalition board member, told ABCNews.com when the database launched.

"The market will always trump regulation," said Mann. "If you make it so California-based productions cannot compete in the market, you'll just drive production out of the state."

But Weinstein insists that worker safety should not be optional.

"You can't dangle from a 30-story building from a rope; you have to wear a harness," he said. "The idea that hurting these performers is a matter of freedom of expression is simply wrong."

Porn Industry Database: Is Testing Enough?

The online database, launched Aug. 2, lists pornography performers who are free of sexually transmitted diseases and available for work. It replaced an earlier version operated by AIM Medical Associates that was shut down in May after the site was hacked and performers' private medical information was leaked online. It's unclear whether a lapse in STD testing between May and August contributed to the new case.

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