Kink’s Director of Health Warns of Ocular Syphilis

Rhett Pardon

LOS ANGELES — Eric Paul Leue,’s director of sexual health and advocacy, pointed out on that that there have been numerous cases of ocular syphilis infections in the U.S. but no cases reported among adult film performers.

Leue said that “as part of an on-going collaboration between the adult industry and state and local public health departments, we felt it important to help raise awareness.”

Performers who choose to participate in the Performer Availability Screening Services (PASS) “are not considered at high risk due to the detailed bi-weekly health screenings,” said Leue, also known as Mr. L.A. Leather 2014.

“Only 10 percent of all syphilis infections impact the eye and develop symptoms such as blurry vision, floaters, a blue tinge in vision, flashing lights, or eye pain,” Leue wrote. “These symptoms are so generic that they are often ignored or mistaken for something like pink eye.

“Misdiagnosing the infection and leaving it untreated can lead to blindness, and done damage is not easily reversible, but ocular syphilis is easy to detect and cure with the right tests and antibiotics.”   

Several health departments, he noted, recommend that people should get tested for syphilis if any of the above-mentioned vision problems occur.

So far there are more than a dozen cases of blindness-causing ocular syphilis — most of them among gay men — reported between Seattle and San Francisco. Authorities say there are now potentially two in Southern California. spokesman Mike Stabile told XBIZ that Leue’s message is expected to get attention within adult entertainment circles.

"We're in a unique position to reach parts of the community that traditional public health messages might not,” Stabile said. “We're a sexual community, and we have a sexual audience.

“We want everyone to be vigilant and safe, whether or not they're performers, and whether or not this affects performers directly."

Leue’s message on ocular syphilis infections can be read here.