Strangely, no

Public health officials in Los Angeles have said that actors in the pornographic film industry put themselves at higher risk of sexually-transmitted diseases by not using appropriate contraception.

I have a feeling that this isn\’t true.

Yes, of course, having unprotected sex with large numbers of people is risky behaviour: but the proof is in the pudding. What is the HIV rate among \”adult\” actors and the general population?

It\’s certainly far lower than it is among some sub-sectors of it (one appalling report from a few days ago of what was it? 30% of black gays in DC being HIV positive?) and I\’d be very surprised if it was as high among those actors as it is among similarly sexually libertine heterosexuals outside the industry.

This is where we might hope that Ms. Pisani composes a post.

4 thoughts on “Strangely, no”

  1. Despite their allegedly high risk lifestyle, the Telegraph reports that the last multiple victim outbreak in the industry occured in 2004. There was a single actress who was found to be HIV+ in 2009 but since no other pron industry workers seem to have been infected, this appears not to have been a pron related incident.

    This implies that while the implicit dangers might be high, the industry has taken some fairly effective measures to dramatically reduce that risk.

    As I understand it, in the US, those measures are as follows: Pron actors must produce a negative HIV test certificate no more than two weeks old each time they arrive on set and they cannot perform without doing so.

    Now this system was, apparently, developed entirely within the industry, without state interference, and it seems to work pretty well. Which is why I am scared to read that the California State Government now wants to “tighten regulation”.

  2. As The Remittance Man says, it isn’t true. Adult movie stars run very little risk of contracting HIV via their day jobs, it’s what they do off set that gets them infected.

    It does raise an interesting point though, the difference between apparent risk and actual risk. It looks risky, but actually isn’t because of things you can’t see, not that different really to action movie stars and the wires, air bags and nets all out of shot.

    The same point can be made about all activities your government warn you about, they may be very risky for some people, not at all for others, depending on individual circumstances. So, back to square one, central government bad, individual responsibility good.

  3. Surely when a single pornographic actor tests HIV positive, and is then removed from the industry before they can infect anyone else, it’s an example of the current testing system working as intended?

    I remember a bit of a moral panic about HIV in porn, with calls for the industry to be heavily regulated, if not completely shut down, back when this story came out:

    In reality, the 16 additional cases since 2004 were all prospective porn performers. Their diagnoses weren’t made public because they were all caught before they ever worked in porn. That’s quite a few potential outbreaks prevented, and to me that isn’t a sign of failure.

    Despite that, I still think it seems sensible to add condoms as an extra layer of protection, if only to reduce the spread of more common sexually transmitted diseases, like Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia.

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