Rocco Siffredi: '89 to 100' Syphilis-Positive Porn Performers in Europe
LOS ANGELES — Rocco Siffredi told XBIZ Friday that there are “89 to 100” adult performers currently infected with syphilis in three different Eastern European cities where porn is regularly shot — Budapest, Hungary, Prague, Czech Republic and St. Petersburg, Russia.
“We have a lot of positives for syphilis. We don’t really know where this came from, but I’m pretty sure it came from Russia before it came to Budapest in July,” said the 27-year veteran performer/director, whose namesake production company is based in Budapest and distributed by Evil Angel in the U.S.
“I heard of some people with syphilis in May in St. Petersburg. And during May I heard from Italian friends who were there that told me they had one or two cases of syphilis, so they had to stop working. But I guess the syphilis didn’t stay there. Somehow it spread out over to Budapest and Prague.”
Siffredi said he estimates about half, or more than 40, of the infected performers live in Budapest.
“Most of the [big-name] girls, they all have syphilis, nearly all of them,” he said.
The adult production community in Budapest this week extended its voluntary moratorium on shooting films through Sept. 3 due to the outbreak.
“Everybody is waiting to see who is going to make a decision about what,” Siffredi said. “Now they have moved the deadline to Sept. 3. Everybody should make a new test.”
Siffredi said it was his understanding that most of the infected performers there were receiving injections. But according to the information that’s been disseminated there, Hungarian performers must wait at least two months before returning to work because they may still be able to transmit the disease, he said.
“Here you can catch it even if you get the treatment. For two months you are always positive,” Siffredi said, noting he is aware that in Los Angeles, someone who receives an injection is said to no longer be contagious after 10 days. But he doesn’t understand why the time windows are so far apart.
“In the U.S. it’s 10 days, here they say it’s 60 days,” he said. “I’m trying to figure out what is the real thing. In the end of the story, nobody can work.”
Siffredi said his estimate of “89 to 100” infected actually is from “around two or three weeks ago.”
“Then I heard the news about syphilis [in L.A.] and the stories with Mr. Marcus,” Siffredi explained. “It came much faster than what I thought. I really thought we could isolate it in Europe.”
Siffredi said from the information he has gathered in Budapest that “it seems nobody has the same way to cure the people.”
“On my side I decided not to work anymore until this is clear,” he continued. “Because syphilis is very, very heavy shit. It’s not like HIV, but if you catch it two times in a row, like if you catch it right now and cure yourself, and then catch it again, then it will become much harder [to be cured of it]. I was very lucky not to catch it.
“My father died in July, so I was last shooting in June before this whole mess started in July. I don’t want to take the chance since lots of people have syphilis, so what’s the point. I want to see how the doctors will take care about this.”
Siffredi said he thinks there should only be one central testing lab in every country where performers go and “all the tests should be visible.”
“That’s another problem here,” he explained. “The lab didn’t want to give a name for the people who were infected because of the rules, the law. So it’s difficult to understand who’s infected. And then we had a fake test here too in Budapest. We heard a few people had fake tests. Some Romanian guy was making a fake test.”
The outbreak in St. Petersburg may be the most severe of the three cities, he suggested. “So many people are infected over there because they never stopped working,” according to Siffredi.
Siffredi said that he has learned that the syphilis problem in Eastern Europe is by no means limited to the porn population, noting that he even called his doctor in Italy who told him there has been “a big parade” of people coming in with syphilis that don’t work in porn.
He pointed to girls doing too much private escort work outside of their porn scenes as the likely reason for the outbreak.
“This is my opinion that too many girls are doing double work because there is not too much work in the [porn] business like before. So they do some escorting,” Siffredi said. “When you get that blood test that’s valid in Europe for one month, and then do escorting one week and come back to the business without making a new test that would cause the problem.
“I know for a fact that many, many girls are escorting.”
Siffredi said that he’ll often call an agency and ask if a girl is available and they’ll tell him, “Oh, they are in Switzerland.”
“We don’t shoot in Switzerland,” Siffredi said.
He also said he had received two different phone calls from agents asking for his help in recruiting porn girls to travel to Switzerland for privates.
“I told them we call this prostitution, and I can’t help you,” Siffredi said.
The situation in Budapest is unlike anything he has previously experienced in his career, Siffredi added.
“Twenty-seven years in this business and I’ve never seen such a big mess in porn,” he said.
Siffredi also cited serious concerns about one production company that he claimed shoots orgy scenes with established porn girls and several dozen civilian guys who come to the shoots without being properly tested for STIs.
“They have to sign some kind of authorization they will be filming,” Siffredi claimed. “Those guys come with no test and have to wear a rubber. And after 10 to 15 minutes, everybody pulls off the rubber.
“I don’t understand. After the orgy, you test the girl again and more than enough of them, they have gonorrhea. I was really angry with the agencies that they permit this kind of thing. It seems now there is no more too much care about this business like there used to be. I don’t understand why this thing is happening. We shouldn’t be mixed with normal people [who don’t do porn for a living].”