Health/Fitness :: Health

Clinic says no new HIV porn cases

by Shaya Tayefe Mohajer
Monday Nov 8, 2010
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An adult film actor who tested positive for HIV last month hasn’t infected anyone through sexual contact, according to testing at the San Fernando Valley clinic that discovered the case.

One of the largest makers of adult films, Vivid Entertainment, announced it will resume production Monday, now that the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation says it has completed two rounds of testing on all the on- and off-screen sexual partners of the infected actor, and no one tested positive.

The actor "acquired the virus through private, personal activity," according to AIM spokeswoman Jennifer Miller. The identity and gender of the HIV-positive actor have not been released; the actor is known only as Patient Zeta.

"There was no transmission of the HIV virus from Patient Zeta to anyone else," Miller said.

Miller said the clinic, which caters to porn stars for testing, conducted two types of tests on all those who had sexual contact with Patient Zeta, and the person who infected Zeta is aware of their HIV-positive status.

News of the HIV-infected actor last month spread fresh fears of sexually transmitted disease through the California adult film industry. Several major pornographers shut down film production in California’s multibillion-dollar adult entertainment industry until the clinic could complete testing on everyone who may have been exposed.

County health officials say at least eight adult film performers have tested positive since a 2004 HIV outbreak in the adult entertainment industry.

Miller said a "handful" of people were tested after the latest scare, but she wouldn’t elaborate.

"The most important thing is that every single person tested came back negative after repeat testing," Miller said.

Los Angeles County public health director Dr. Jonathan Fielding said the health department can’t confirm AIM’s test results because the clinic does not communicate with the authorities as well as other health providers typically do.

"We haven’t gotten much beyond what AIM is legally required to report to us," said Fielding, echoing the complaint of state workplace safety officials, who have been denied similar requests for information from the clinic. The clinic cites federal patient privacy laws in their denials.

Fielding said adult film workers shouldn’t mistake Friday’s announcement for proof of workplace safety in the porn industry, and unprotected sex still poses a serious health risk.

Some porn producers say condoms can be a turnoff to viewers, bringing an unwanted dose of reality to a realm ruled by fantasy. But health officials have said that fantasy is dangerous, and state workplace safety officials at Cal/OSHA are considering strengthening rules to require condoms.

Currently, the laws that require health care professionals to wear gloves and protective barriers when dealing with patient fluids apply to the adult film business. But the laws don’t make specific provisions for condoms in porn.

HIV is spread most often through sexual contact, but it can also be contracted through sharing contaminated needles for drug use, infected blood products, or babies born to or breast-fed by infected women. It is the cause of AIDS, an immune disease that gradually destroys the body’s ability to fight illness.

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This article is part of our "World AIDS Day 2010" series. Want to read more? Here's the full list»

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