CHATSWORTH, Calif. — Shy Love, owner of Adult Talent Managers, on Tuesday held a meeting at Penthouse Studios to discuss which HIV test is most effective for porn performers and which labs the adult industry is using to administer the tests.
The issue of performer testing needs to be addressed, according to Love, who maintains that the current procedures in place are not giving talent or producers the best possible options.
“My priority is the talent and the safety of the talent before anyone else,” Love said.
A group of about a dozen adult industry executives representing various production companies attended the meeting, which was co-hosted by Penthouse Entertainment Managing Director Kelly Holland.
The current adult industry standard, set forth by Free Speech Coalition’s Adult Production Health & Safety Services (APHSS), is to accept both the Aptima HIV-1 RNA Qualitative Assay and the Abbott RealTime HIV 1 Assay HIV PCR tests as appropriate documentation that a performer is cleared to perform in a sex scene.
Love said Tuesday’s meeting was designed to present information to producers about the Aptima test, which she believes should be adopted as the industry standard, so that producers can decide whether they should accept one or the other or both tests going forward.
Love invited three representatives from Gen-Probe, the company that created the Aptima test, to make a presentation about the effectiveness of its test which it says is “the gold standard for acute HIV infection screening.”
Dr. Tadd Lazarus, the chief medical officer and vice president of clinical affairs for Gen-Probe, made a PowerPoint presentation about the Aptima, pointing out that each component of the test is approved by the FDA.
“The hardware, the software and the juice itself are all approved by the FDA,” Lazarus said. “The juice is the liquid re-agents that test the actual blood itself.”
Lazarus said the Aptima is “the most sensitive of molecular tests out there” and that “80 percent of all U.S. blood donations are screened using our technology.”
The Abbott test, Lazarus said, is utilized for gauging the effectiveness of treatment for a person who is already infected with HIV. It is a measure of a person’s viral load, or how much of the HIV virus is in a patient’s bloodstream.
“You need a much more effective test for a person whose HIV status is unknown,” Lazarus said. “You need a qualitative test, which [the Aptima] technology does.”
Love added, "Abbott is an amazing test for the purposes of controlling patients who are on HIV medication, not for what we do in our industry."
Love noted in the meeting that APHSS currently only approves the Cutting Edge Testing facility, which until an announcement on Tuesday did not administer the Aptima test. Manwin on Tuesday announced it had purchased the Gen-Probe Aptima machine for Cutting Edge Testing and will now require its use as part of new health standards and procedures requested from producers, performers and agents that are performing in any Manwin-related production. Talent Testing Services, which is not an APHSS-approved facility, already offers both the Abbott and the Aptima.
Love and others believe that Talent Testing Services should be added to the APHSS list of approved labs.
“They’re the ones who notified us of the Aptima and the Abbott and the risk to our industry to protect us,” Love reasoned.
According to Love, Talent Testing Services has met all the criteria the APHSS has requested in order for inclusion, but it has yet to be approved.
“I think that multiple labs are necessary to keep us alive just like multiple agencies are necessary,” she said.
Veteran producer/director Miles Long added, “Didn’t we all agree that we never wanted to have another situation where there was one lab like AIM Healthcare, and we all went to it. When it closed down we all kind of looked at each other and said, ‘OK, now what do we do?’”
Love stressed that because of the distinct difference between the Aptima and the Abbott tests that she has already notified the performers she represents that the Aptima is all she will accept.
“If they choose to use the Abbott, it is at their own risk and free will because I am not taking the liability, and that’s per the request of my attorney, which is what I’ve done,” Love said. “I do agree there has to be a meeting with all producers and FSC separately for figuring out the best options for the APHSS system, where everybody is given the same rights so that we can move forward as a group and as an entity.”
Love continued, “And then from there as a group and as an entire industry we will decide together all of our options for who gets put onto the APHSS system. In reality, we as a group are giving our funds and paying our dues to the Free Speech Coalition, we fund that division [the APHSS].”
Love said that she wants to meet with FSC, along with all the industry producers, and reach a common ground about testing protocols.
“I do not want a war with [FSC],” Love said. “I respect everything Free Speech has done for us. … This business is run by multitudes of us. We can make the decision as a whole.”