Advocate Mag Examines HIV Testing in Gay Adult

Advocate Mag Examines HIV Testing in Gay Adult
JC Adams
LOS ANGELES — The LGBT newsmagazine The Advocate has published an article examining workplace safety in gay adult entertainment through the prism of HIV/STD testing.

The story by Matt Siegel is titled "Business Before Pleasure?" and was published this week on Advocate.com, the magazine's official website.

"The porn industry operates like an adult version of the CBS reality show 'Kid Nation'; the one where a gaggle of children settle into a ghost town with no adult supervision and have to create their own system of governance," the article begins.

"In porn nation, adults — with at least one pseudonym each — settle into the San Fernando Valley with essentially no government supervision and have to create their own system of on-set HIV prevention."

The Advocate story then summarizes the case of "Patient Zero," the publicly unidentified female performer whose HIV-positive test in early June was complicated when it was revealed she had filmed a scene the day before her diagnosis with an outdated HIV test.

The news prompted a quarantine of several dozen individuals, including non-performers, until they had been retested. The resultant scandal prompted a call by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) for California to legally mandate the use of condoms in all porn production.

In straight adult, STD/HIV testing is mandatory and condoms are generally not required. But gay adult producers rely on a self-policed system requiring condoms without STD testing; a handful of gay producers test but do not require the use of condoms and sero-sort their performers.

In July, AHF filed suit against Los Angeles Country public health officials, claiming they have not made any moves to require condom use on porn sets.

At the heart of the suit, AHF asked the Los Angeles Superior Court to order condom use or take other "reasonable measures" to put a crimp on the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Pro/am adult site NextDoorMale.com is among the very few adult studios that test their performers, both male and female, and also mandate the use of condoms.

Company principal Stephan Sirard is quoted in the Advocate article.

"Condoms break. Condoms come off. And with testing there are window periods. Combine both for best practices. Studios that don't use condoms and don’t test should be in court for murder," he said.

Other gay adult producers quoted in the story are Bill Gardner of Hot Desert Knights, a condomless company that began testing its models in 2008, and Kent Taylor of Raging Stallion Studios, whose models are not tested but are required to use condoms.

Should California elect to legally require the use of condoms in porn production, it is possible adult producers would move out of the state. AHF's Weinstein is unconcerned about the ramifications of such an outcome, including the loss of thousands of jobs and a significant chunk of tax revenue.

"So let them move," said Weinstein in the article. "I don't think that's the basis on which we decide what public policy should be. These people are fabulously rich. Why should we care whether their profits go down? Why would we put that on a higher level than the health of these young people?"