L.A. NOW

Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Porn industry reports new HIV infection in adult performer

June 10, 2009 |  6:16 pm

A female performer in the pornography industry has tested positive for HIV, a San Fernando Valley-based clinic that serves adult performers said today.

The new case marks the first publicly confirmed HIV infection in an adult performer in Southern California since since 2004 when an HIV outbreak shut down porn production for four weeks.

Initial HIV tests of the woman’s partners have come up negative, according to officials from the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation, a clinic that primarily serves adult-film professionals in Sherman Oaks and Granada Hills.

Those partners are not being allowed to perform at this time and are being encouraged to test again in 14 days, said Brooke Hunter, the clinic's administrator.

Hunter said the adult actress diagnosed with HIV works “very infrequently.” “This is really not a major event,” Hunter said. 

The new HIV infection was confirmed publicly only after discussions of a possible HIV case appeared on adult industry websites. 

Sharon Mitchell, the clinic's founder, was quoted today on AVN, an adult industry website, saying they had recently changed their policies on disclosure of new cases "because if there isn't a widespread danger – if someone isn't completely virulent and hasn't worked and there aren't a lot of people at risk, we don't put a quote out there; just blankets: Everyone should come in and test."

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, health officer for Los Angeles County, said this afternoon that his office had received no reports about the incident but was launching an investigation.

Public health officials and the porn industry have been at odds for years over requiring porn stars to use condoms while filming.

“We’re concerned that the adult film industry is not complying with Cal/OSHA requirements that require the use of condoms,” Fielding said. The county has been receiving reports of 60 to 80 cases of Chlamydia and gonorrhea a month among adult performers, he said.

“It is not surprising that there would be an HIV infection,” Fielding said. “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? Why are we exposing them to potentially life-threatening diseases through work?”

He said the protocol developed by the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation recommends that adult performers get tested for HIV every 30 days. But that protocol isn’t sufficient to protect against transmission of HIV. It takes nine to 11 days after exposure for HIV 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.

In 2004, Darren James, a porn actor who had recently returned from working in Brazil spread the virus to three actresses who worked with him. A transsexual performer unrelated to the other cases also tested positive at that time.

-- Rong-Gong Lin II and Kimi Yoshino

Related stories:

2 HIV Cases Put a Scare into Porn

See No Evil: In California's unregulated porn film industry, an alarming number of performers are infected with HIV and other STDs. And nobody seems to care.

Comments 

Advertisement










Video