One positive HIV test is collapsing America’s entire porn industry

One positive HIV test is collapsing America’s entire porn industry

SexApril 20, 2018 By Lindsey Kline

Last week, a male porn performer tested positive for HIV, and the whole adult entertainment industry shut down. Studios ceased all production while they did damage control to find out exactly how far the sexually transmitted disease could have spread.

When it comes to STD scares, the porn industry is extremely proactive — those people don’t mess around with diseased genitals. However, this is far from the first time all of America’s porn production has been frozen to handle a potential epidemic.

The shutdown stirs up recurring controversies in the porn world about limited condom use and crossover with gay male performers. It might also raise a new question: are porn industry standards too lenient to keep its actors safe from disease?

Performers in adult entertainment are tested for STDs every two weeks. If an actor tests positive for HIV, filming is immediately stopped and the person is retested to make sure it was not a false positive.

If he/she really did get “the bug,” anyone they worked with them since their last STD test is called and advised to get tested.

However, the ripple effect of a sex sickness can reach far beyond co-workers within 2 weeks.

If fictional porn star “Casey” unknowingly contracts HIV, the virus is spread to everyone Casey had sex with, everyone who had sex with someone Casey had sex with, everyone who had sex with someone who had sex with someone Casey had sex with, and so on into a endless spiral of cock and coochie contamination.

But the two-week testing rule and shutdowns when a porn star tests HIV positive are completely voluntary. The freezes are typically called by the Free Speech Coalition (FSC), a non-profit trade group for the adult entertainment industry.

They’re not legally mandated — just an industry standard — so not all studios choose to stick to the rule.

Fears of contracting HIV has created an intense schism between the gay and straight communities in the porn industry. This division was highlighted following the suicide of porn star August Ames.

After Ames posted a Tweet implying that she wouldn’t want to work with male performers who’d appeared in gay porn (known as “crossover performers”), many of colleagues berated her. Although some performers agreed that crossover men are "higher risk" for STIs than straight men, many others see the standard as homophobic.

Rather than discriminating against a certain kind of person, a far more effective way for porn performers to overcome fear of STDs is to use protection, like condoms.

Unfortunately, porn and condoms don’t mix. When California tried to pass a bill that would require adult actors to wear condoms during filming, the adult industry revolted. They reserve the right to raw-dog.

The porn industry shoots roughly 20,000 scenes per year. That’s 55 scenes put on hold every day that an STD shutdown is in effect. This doesn’t have a huge financial impact on major studios, which typically have a large stockpile of scenes awaiting release. It does, however, hurt the porn stars who aren’t able to earn any income while the cameras aren’t rolling.

It seems that the porn business standards aren’t “too lenient” at all. In fact, porn stars are infinitely more likely to contract a sexual disease in their personal lives than on set. The industry reports that the total number of confirmed cases of on-set HIV transmission over the last decade is zero.