Saturday 3 September 2011

Self-regulation and pornography

Folks are taking entirely the wrong message from the latest HIV scare in the pornography industry. Here's The Press (AP wire story):

If the initial case is confirmed, the group will ask two generations of the person's sexual partners to get tested, meaning those who had sex with the performer and the sexual partners of those who had sex with the performer.

The voluntary industry shutdown affects porn producers in the San Fernando Valley, the heart of the multibillion-dollar American porn industry, and includes Hustler and Evil Angel's productions.

The porn industry was shut down similarly in late 2010, after porn actor Derrick Burts was diagnosed as being HIV positive.

Burts said he had worked in the porn industry for only seven months before being told during a routine test at the AIM clinic on October 8 that he had contracted the HIV virus, which can lead to AIDS.

Burts has since gone on to advocate for the mandatory use of condoms in porn with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The health advocacy group and state workplace safety officials say state law mandates porn performers to use condoms to protect themselves under the same set of rules that require nurses to wear gloves in hospitals when dealing with bodily fluids.
First, the industry knows who has performed what with whom and when. So when regular testing shows a performer has HIV, they can immediately run tests on everyone who's performed with that actor, then on anybody who's performed with those actors, and so on.

Alexandre Padilla argues, reasonably, that if condom use were mandatory in the California porn industry, there would be two perverse effects. First, production would leave the self-regulating and relatively safe conditions there and go elsewhere; there is consumer demand for films with unsheathed actors. Second, producers in California would have a hard time mandating regular HIV testing: it could be deemed an unreasonable job condition if other abatement mechanisms are in place. Where condoms fail occasionally, risk could then increase.


  1. Most of the self regulating system was put in place by Sharon Mitchell - an ex actress turned Dr. Very interesting how she did this. Here is a clip from a BBC documentary on the first major outbreak. The first part is missing from youtube, interesting part is really from 3:50 on in part 3/4.

    Very much NSFW!

    -Anonymous coward

  2. @Anon: Thanks! I wish there were an option for hearing only the audio on clips like these....

    1. You could turn off your monitor...

    2. Harder to do on a laptop but, more importantly, being able to show to any IT folks who come asking why I was watching that URL, I'd be able to point to that I couldn't have seen vid as was only listening....