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Porn HIV Outbreak Could Have Exposed 13 Performers: City of L.A. Asked to Halt Adult Video Shoot Permits

Updated at the bottom: Industry leaders want a "retraction" of the suggestion that they are covering up this latest HIV scare. First posted at 2:29 p.m.

Rumor has it that as many as 13 people have been exposed to HIV in the latest outbreak to rock the porn industry, AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein told reporters today.

"According to what's being said in the underground, up to 13" were exposed to HIV via including the one known (well, sort-of known) positive, believed to be a performer for the popular Brazzers line of videos in Florida.

The AHF wants the city of L.A., in the meantime, to halt issuance of porn-shoot permits until the outbreak is clarified and contained.

While the HIV-positive report is out of Floirda, Weinstein argued that the industry's voluntary moratorium on production, mostly affecting L.A., indicates that porn leaders know that the outbreak could effect performers who work here.

The AHF is filing health complaints with the state of Florida and with federal workplace health officials over the reported outbreak.

While the L.A.-based porn industry has voluntarily halted production, Weinstein alleges that the industry isn't sorting anything, and his group wants the L.A. County Department of Health to take over and get to the bottom of the outbreak.

So far, Weinstein noted, the industry has not confirmed the positive, and has not been forthcoming with details.

"That's just the fox guarding the hen house," added AHF attorney Brian Chase.

Added:

An industry source notes in response that the world first found out about the positive performer through the industry trade group Free Speech Coalition and says, tongue-in-cheek, that's not a very effective way of covering things up.

Weinstein argued that those who have been exposed to the male performer who sparked the latest round of headlines need to be informed, but that the industry hasn't let them in the loop. Weinstein:

We also want to put pressure on the [industry trade group] Free Speech Coalition to come clean about what's going on. Either they are totally incompetent in terms of finding out if this person is a true positive, or they're covering up.

AHF officials indicated they believe that Brazzers, despite being based in Montreal and undertaking production in Florida, is part of the industry's monthly testing protocol that requires performers to show up for work with less-than-30-day-old STD results.

What's more, they indicated that this performer likely found out about the reported positive read after testing for work.

Some in the industry might point at that and say the system works: Someone with HIV was found out through its protocol, and production shut down.

AHF begs to differ. Weinstein:

Testing is not a form of prevention ... They're more likely to pass the virus during that period when they're first infected. There's a maximum danger level. No amount of testing is going to eliminate that possibility.

Update: The Free Speech Coalition issued a strongly worded statement demanding the retraction of comments Weinstein made suggesting the industry group has participated in a cover-up of the latest HIV scare.

Weinstein suggested to reporters that FSC hasn't cooperated with authorities or taken the lead in exposing the possible spread of this "outbreak."

The FSC notes that there is no investigation to cooperate with and states:

FSC ... has consulted with legal advisers in order to issue a demand for an

immediate retraction from AHF.

To FSC's knowledge, there is no investigation being conducted by LACPH [L.A. County Department of Public Health] at this time. It is impossible for FSC to obstruct an investigation that, evidently, does not exist. In the event that FSC were to be contacted by authorities from LACPH or elsewhere, it would endeavor to cooperate fully, while still protecting the rights of any individuals to medical privacy.

FSC executive director Diane Duke:

This is another prime example of AHF and its President Michael Weinstein's outrageous grandstanding, which is completely false and baseless. AHF has a history of spreading misinformation in order to further their agenda to force government regulation of sexual behavior. Apparently, Mr. Weinstein will stop at nothing, including spreading false information, in order to call attention to AHF's agenda.

FSC membership director Joanne Cachapero told the Weekly this afternoon:

There is no cover-up, as we have been accused of by AHF. In fact, we were the first to officially go public with the situation late on Sunday ... We called for the moratorium in order to minimize any risk of exposure ...

While Weinstein had said he believed Brazzers and the reportedly positive performer were part of the industry's testing system, FSC disputed that in its statement:

... The possible exposure and subsequent events took place outside of the ... database program and therefore, outside of the authority of FSC to implement industry exposure protocols.

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