Calling to mind the Mr. Marcus syphilis scare that shut down the porn industry in August of 2012, the Free Speech Coalition asked yesterday that all adult production be indefinitely halted, after a female performer tested positive for HIV. Because industry leaders typically listen to the Free Speech Coalition—which, surprisingly, is not the name of a conservative think tank, but porn's major trade association—the San Fernando Valley studios announced today that a moratorium has, in fact, been put in place. The HIV-infected actress is allegedly new to the industry. The FSC told the Associated Press that the halt will be lifted after her partners are adequately tested and the "risk of transmission has been eliminated."
The porn industry self-regulates. There are no governmental agencies that test performers. Which means that quite a few outside voices, including AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein, are renewing the call for condom usage to be mandatory in smut. You might have heard similar calls last year after AB-332, an occupational safety and health bill that would have required actors to wrap it up, died in a state appropriations committee.
"How many adult film performers have to become infected with an array of preventable sexually transmitted diseases — including HIV, which is not curable — before the porn industry actually complies with the law requiring condom use?" Weinstein said in a statement.
The question of Condoms or Nay? has actually split the industry. Jesse Rodgers—an ex-porn star who now advocates for protection—wrote in a June editorial that lackluster STD testing caused her to be infected with herpes. She supported AB-332, and wrote, "I don’t get why an industry that makes more than all professional sports combined is exempt from regulation. It doesn’t make sense, but I guess it makes dollars. I don't think it's just that people think putting the idea of a 'fantasy' without condoms trumps someone's health. I wish there was a law like AB-332 when I did adult films, which wasn’t too long ago, because I would have been protected and would have never contracted herpes, which I have for the rest of my life now."
Then on the other side, Kayden Kross wrote in a counter-argument that the industry already tests its performers every two weeks. Few people, she said, are really slipping through the cracks. "Six years I’ve been doing this with a perfect testing record. The system has worked for me. And in that time, yes, performers have caught gonorrhea. They have caught chlamydia. When this has happened they have taken antibiotics and a week off and then returned to work, good as new. They have not caught HIV. Not a single case of HIV has been transmitted on one of our porn sets in the entire time I’ve been in this industry, and some years before that. Not one fucking case."