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HIV scare shuts down adult film industry.

The multi-billion dollar U.S. adult film industry halted production recently after five actors tested positive for the HIV virus. This was the first instance of HIV in the industry since a single case in 1999 and six cases in 1998--a surprisingly small rate of occurrence given that some 1,200 actors perform in thousands of films each year.

The adult film industry's relative success in avoiding more widespread sexually transmitted disease outbreaks can be attributed to its strict practice of regular testing. With no official regulatory oversight, the industry has had to police itself. Performers are tested every three weeks for HIV and monthly for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis through the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation (AIM), a nonprofit organization created in 1998 to provide testing and monitoring, medical services, counseling and education.

In response to this most recent case, AIM initiated a voluntary quarantine of the more than 50 performers who had worked with the HIV-positive actors, pending a battery of tests to determine their disease status. At the same time, they urged filmmakers to institute an industry-wide work stoppage until it could be certain that the outbreak was contained. The moratorium was largely followed and then lifted a month earlier than anticipated when many of the individuals under quarantine were cleared after testing negative for HIV in a variety tests over a 45-day period.

Despite the successful containment of the outbreak, Los Angeles County health officials (the majority of the adult film industry is based in California's San Fernando Valley) investigated the situation to determine if the adult performers could have spread the virus to the rest of the population. The outbreak also prompted calls for official government regulation of the industry, including mandatory health inspections and required condom use. AIM feared that such actions would only serve to drive the adult industry underground or out of state, further stigmatize performers and alienate them from the healthcare system.

Meanwhile, some of the greatest risks to adult film actors actually come from overseas shoots. More and more production companies are turning to foreign locales to find new talent or because these locations are less expensive to film in. In many of these countries, testing is not required and condom use is not always the standard--in some instances, actors receive bonuses for not wearing condoms.

It is believed that the first actor to test positive to the recent outbreak contracted HIV while filming in Brazil, prompting some to call for a 60-day quarantine for actors who work overseas, upon their return to the United States.
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Title Annotation:Risk Reporter
Comment:HIV scare shuts down adult film industry.(Risk Reporter)
Author:O'Rouke, Morgan
Publication:Risk Management
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2004
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