LOS ANGELES — Free Speech Coalition Executive Director Diane Duke today issued the following statement relative to the APHSS testing program:
Dear Adult Industry Producers and Directors,
Shy Love has called a producer meeting about performer testing to be held at Penthouse on Tuesday, June 12th. FSC has not been invited to this meeting. Based on uncountable conversations with Ms. Love, we expect her to denigrate FSC’s testing program and promote a non-APHSS testing facility. To ensure that accurate information about the APHSS program and its protocols is disseminated, below is clarification of the three most critical components in question.
First, APHSS protocols require that all tests be ordered by a medical provider licensed to practice within the state. In many states,including California and Florida, a medical provider’s involvement is required by law. Under most states’ laws,clinical laboratories must obtain a request from a health care provider and can release test results only to the health care provider who ordered the test. In addition, patients in most states do not have the right to obtain their test results directly from a clinical
Moreover, a performer who tests positive for a sexually transmitted infection will need treatment for that infection. Continuity of care is critical for the health and well-being of performers. APHSS providers can immediately follow up with a performer who tests positive for Chlamydia or Gonorrhea for counseling, medical treatment,and eventually retesting.
It is highly inadvisable to rely on any testing provider which lacks a medical provider licensed by the state where the blood is being drawn. FSC can assist you in confirming whether any particular testing provider has such a licensed medical practitioner, or any other of the APHSS criteria.
Second, APHSS accepts the Aptima HIV-1RNA Qualitative Assay and the Abbot RealTime HIV 1 Assay HIV PCR tests. After considerable research and contact with infectious disease specialists,pathologists and physicians, APHSS determined that these two tests best meet the needs of our performer population. Both tests have the 9 to 11day window. The Aptima test is sanctioned by the FDA for detection and diagnosis of HIV. The Abbot test is sanctioned by the FDA to determine the viral load of HIV–the amount of the HIV virus present. While the Aptima has been FDA approved for diagnostic, the Abbot test has been identified by experts as an excellent option for the industry because of the doctor’s ability to know the value of the viral load. The purpose of the initial HIV test is to screen for the presence of HIV, not to diagnose. If a performer tests positive, an additional diagnostic test will then be administered–regardless of the initial test’s brand.
Finally, APHSS requires all providers to enter information for APHSS performers into our availability database. FSC board members Peter Acworth (Owner and CEO of Kink.com) and Christian Mann (General Manager of Evil Angel) oversaw the design and development of the database. The database has been built with several layers of security. In order to ensure performer privacy and to comply with HIPAA regulations (federal medical privacy laws), the producer/director’s database-interface displays only a performer’s availability for work – “Available” or “Not Available.” The database’s public interface contains no personal or medical information. This system was created to enhance performer privacy and reduce producer/director liability.
APHSS was created to fill the gap left by the closure of the AIM clinic. Without a comprehensive, coordinated program that is trusted by the industry, should a performer test positive,both performers and producers are highly vulnerable. Moreover, without a highly structured and successful performer health and safety plan, the industry has no viable alternative to government regulation. Therefore, in order to maintain standards and protocols for performer safety and health and in order to reduce legal and financial liability for producers, FSC created APHSS.
We are at a critical turning point for the APHSS program. APHSS has grown a great deal, but for the program to be fully functional, we need the whole industry to stand behind APHSS. The beauty of this system is,in the event a performer turns up positive,we will have a ready-made network in place. Through this network,we can test and care for any performers that may have been exposed and isolate that exposure protecting performers and significantly shortening production shut down time. We have spent a great deal of FSC time and money to create a working program for the industry and have not received additional funding from the industry or any other entity. Frankly,it will not make sense for FSC to expend any more of its resources if the industry is not 100 percent behind us.
We have created an excellent program – and now the ball is in your court. If producers, performers and directors are in support of FSC overseeing performer health and safety testing protocols and practices, then we need you to sign up. The alternative to FSC oversight is for producers, performers and agents to take on the responsibility of performer testing and safety-including any incidents of positive HIV tests. In our August meeting, FSC’s Board of Directors will review the program for its effectiveness and value to the industry.
If you want to ensure that APHSS will continue, sign up. Performers,directors and producers can go to APHSS.org and click “sign-up” to be led through a simple registration process. The program is currently free, but there may be a nominal cost for producers moving forward.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss the issue further,feel free to contact me at 818-348-9373 or Diane@freespeechcoalition.com.