Opinion

Porn industry bailout? | Amy Johnson

If you are wondering who could benefit from your end-of-the-year charity dollars, consider the porn industry. Apparently, it's in trouble again, and not very high on anyone’s bailout list.

Earlier this month, a clinic in Sherman Oakes, Calif., that routinely provided STD testing to porn industry workers was shut down, due to lack of compliance with rules and regulations — you know, for breaking little laws like the mandate to have an agreement with a hospital for anyone requiring immediate hospitalization, and the requirement to maintain complete records that show anyone who has tested HIV-positive has actually received counseling and treatment.

The closure was supported by AIDS Healthcare President Michael Weinstein and other people in the industry who have been outspoken about mandating condom use on all porn shoots. One of these actors, Derrick Burts, tested HIV-positive and shut down the porn industry for several weeks earlier this fall. He was a “cross-over” actor, who had separate screen names for his heterosexual porn movies and his gay porn movies. Though he claims he used condoms while shooting his gay porn films, he insists he must have contracted HIV from someone on those gay shoots. Why, you ask? He said he took precautions and was tested monthly for HIV and other STDs for his heterosexual shoots, so they couldn’t be the source of his infection.

What are we teaching our porn stars? Don’t they know that HIV testing like that is basically useless? In a multi-billion dollar sex-based industry, shouldn’t it be common knowledge that the window for results from an HIV test is two to eight weeks, with an average of 25 days? This is not because it takes that long to get the test results back; it’s because the antibodies for HIV don’t show up for several weeks, and that’s what the test is for. Meanwhile, an infected person is highly contagious. Even the new expensive test, which does test for HIV directly, can’t accurately diagnose someone as HIV-positive in the first one to three weeks.

Let me spell it out for you, Derrick Burts (and anyone else who might be listening). Getting tested monthly means you could contract HIV, be tested the next day, get a negative result, and then have HIV for an entire month, infecting every partner you have sex with (without a condom) until the next test comes back positive the following month. Oh, and by the way, over 30 percent of new HIV cases in our country are from high-risk (i.e. unprotected) heterosexual contact.

The only thing saving the porn industry from all this controversy is an enterprising group of video sex game manufacturers, who have figured out how to hack Microsoft’s new Kinect to make their games hands-free. How convenient! Now, you can virtually grope scantily-clad unrealistically proportioned animated women — without holding a controller.

I didn’t see any signs of guys available for feeling up, though, so Derrick and his fellow male HIV-positive former porn stars are probably out of luck for that avatar gig.

But hey, you can’t get HIV from playing a video game. Just sayin’.

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