Porn Production Halted as a Report of On-Set HIV Is Investigated

Porn Production Halted as a Report of On-Set HIV Is Investigated
File photo by Keith Plocek/L.A. Weekly

While the world frets over Ebola, the porn business continues to confront the scourge of STDs.

The industry trade group known as the Free Speech Coalition yesterday called for a three-day production shut down after learning from a public health official that a performer possibly contracted HIV on-set.

The Canoga Park-based organization said in a statement that the possible exposure happened "out-of-state," and that it is actively investigating the situation:

In the past, reports of HIV and syphilis have prompted the mainstream, mostly L.A.-centered business to shut down temporarily as a rote precaution, although not all video-makers abide.

The most recent, self-imposed moratorium happened in August after a false HIV report.

See also: Porn Gets Back to Work After False HIV Report

In the most-recent case, the FSC said this yesterday:

We have received notification from a public health department official of HIV exposure on an out-of-state set. In and abundance of caution, we are calling for a three-day hold on production while we evaluate any risk to the performer pool, and determine if a full moratorium is warranted. As with past production holds, we ask that people refrain from speculation until more news is forthcoming, and respect performer privacy. We are currently working with the public health department, the production company, and the performer, and will alert as more information is available.

The industry, which has successfully fought off legislative attempts to impose mandatory condom use on-set, argues that the production shut downs are a routine part of its effort to cut off possible STD outbreaks. According to FSC:

Moratoriums are an important part of the safety protocols in adult film, but does not signal an actual on-set transmission. The adult film industry has not seen an on-set transmission of HIV in over ten years.

FSC CEO Diane Duke asked people in the industry to refrain from leaking the name of the possible patient, which has been the norm for cases past:

Porn Production Halted as a Report of On-Set HIV Is Investigated
Folks at porn's annual AVN awards via Nate "Igor" Smith/L.A. Weekly

As with past production holds, we ask that people refrain from speculation until more news is forthcoming, and respect performer privacy. We are currently working with the public health department, the production company, and the performer, and will alert as more information is available.

The porn biz has set up a voluntary, twice-a-month STD testing program for performers that it says works by catching positives early and helping it reel in production if necessary to contain possible outbreaks.

The biggest critic of the industry's STD policy is the L.A.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which sponsored the California condom legislation and which has successfully persuaded voters to pass mandatory condom rules in L.A.

On-the-books production has plummeted as a result, and adult video companies say they've been heading out-of-town and out-of-state. 

California is one of only two states in the nation where porn is explicitly legal, however. It will be interesting to see if this case affects how other states view porn that's made in their backyards.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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