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Porn filmmaking shut down after performer tests HIV positive

August 29, 2011 | 12:57 pm

In support of requiring condoms in porn productions

An adult film performer has tested HIV positive, prompting a temporary shutdown Monday of adult film productions across Los Angeles until further testing can confirm the results, an industry trade group said.

“Until we know for sure, we’ve asked the industry to have a moratorium on production,” said Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, a Canoga Park-based porn industry trade group.

Duke’s group became aware of the possible HIV case Saturday, according to a statement released to porn industry media. Duke would not say how her group learned about the possible HIV case.

She said she notified adult film production companies across the San Fernando Valley on Monday morning that a performer had tested positive and urged them to temporarily halt productions until further tests were completed.

Duke said company officials she spoke with -- including those at well-known studios, such as Hustler and Evil Angel -- agreed to the temporary shutdown.

Duke said she could not release the performer’s name, age or gender. Further testing will likely be completed within a week,  she added.

Her group will notify performers who had sex with the potentially infected person so they can get tested.

"Retesting and confirmation is underway as is the process of identifying and testing first- and second- generation partners," she said, referring to those who had sex with the person who tested HIV positive or with one of that person's sex partners. 

It was not clear how Duke's group was doing that. She noted in a statement released Monday that the performer tested positive at an out-of-state facility “that does not appear to have protocols or procedures in place for medical follow-up (including generational testing).”

Los Angeles County health officials and state health regulators, who have been involved with such testing in the past, were not notified of the test because it was performed out of state, Duke said.

A Los Angeles County public health spokeswoman did not return calls or emails early Monday.

Last month, Duke’s group launched a new testing database for porn performers, the Adult Performer Health and Safety Services, designed to provide producers and agents with access to results from numerous testing centers.

Duke said it will be at least another month before testing is complete and the database is fully functional.

Adult film performers must be tested every 30 days and show proof of a clean test before they perform, according to voluntary industry standards.

AIM Medical Associates had been operating the industry's database of test results before it closed in May while fighting a lawsuit that alleged it revealed performers' private medical information.

The new database will tell producers and agents only whether performers are available for work, not their specific test results as AIM had done, Duke said.

AIM officials, who opened the Sherman Oaks-based clinic in 1998, had also drawn criticism for opposing condom use in porn and insisting that frequent tests could protect performers from HIV.

They continued to defend their position even after performer Derrick Burts tested HIV positive at AIM last year.

Burts has since joined an effort by Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation to get a measure placed on the city’s June 2012 ballot that would require adult film performers to use condoms in porn productions that seek Los Angeles city film permits.

Backers of the ballot measure must submit a petition with at least 41,138 qualifying signatures by Dec. 23 to place the proposal on the June ballot. It would be the first time that voters were asked to weigh in on the issue.

Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said the latest possible HIV infection showed an “outrageous disregard for the health and safety of performers and the community at large” and demonstrates why testing is not an adequate substitute for condoms. He called on L.A. city officials to pull all adult film permits until condoms are mandated.

“How many performers must become infected with HIV and other serious STDs before the industry will clean up its act and government will do the right thing?” he said.

RELATED:

Porn trade group to revive performer STD database

Condoms-in-porn L.A. ballot initiative petition effort underway

L.A. investigating porn shoot allegedly involving on-duty traffic officers

--Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Joining AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein, in tie, in support of requiring condoms in porn productions are, from left, former adult entertainment performers Jenni Case, Jan Merritt, Derrick Burts, Shelley Lubben and Darren James. Credit: Phil McCarten / AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation

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