STIs: Production Halt, Increased Testing Aim to Curb Spread

STIs: Production Halt, Increased Testing Aim to Curb Spread

LOS ANGELES — Industry sexual health professionals and advocates are using an “abundance of caution” approach — including a seven-day production hold and increased testing — to curb the spread of STIs among performers, following a widely reported uptick in positive tests.

Yesterday, PASS called for a week-long production hold, advising all producers and performers to “abstain from non-solo adult content production until after Dec. 12, 2022” in the wake of “reports on an increase in chlamydia among adult performers and content creators.”

“We are calling the production hold out of an abundance of caution,” Ian O’Brien, executive director of PASS, said yesterday. “The seven-day production hold and required retest will help identify any existing infections and prevent potential transmissions.”

Talent Testing Service (TTS) also issued a statement yesterday, offering chlamydia/gonorrhea (CT/GC) testing at no cost.

“Any talent who has received a Gold Standard Panel (GSP) between Dec. 1 and Dec. 15, 2022,” TTS informed “will be eligible to receive a free CT/GC test up to 15 days after the date of their GSP.”

TTS Adopts 'Scorched Earth' Approach Through Retesting

XBIZ spoke with industry sexual health stakeholders to clarify the current STI situation and the measures being taken to combat the reported outbreak.

TTS director Sixto Pacheco told XBIZ that, although his labs are not currently part of the PASS system, he has had meetings with FSC, PASS and production companies in the past few weeks to share data and insights in hopes of determining the magnitude of the reported outbreak.

“We have something called the Delta Check, that looks at prevalence rate for specific STIs in the population TTS works with,” Pacheco explained. “We look at running averages and changes and we carefully monitor for any serious increase that would ‘break the Delta.’ After receiving so many questions about chlamydia and gonorrhea over the last few weeks, we checked our numbers and we are seeing that although it has not ‘broken the Delta,’ it is getting close.”

Pacheco stressed that, unlike PASS, TTS has never had the authority to call a moratorium or production halt over STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and because the Delta Check currently shows a tendency towards a problem, we are following a ‘scorched earth’ approach,” Pacheco told XBIZ. “We are offering free retests for chlamydia and gonorrhea for anyone who has gotten a Gold Panel from us recently, so that people at least will know if they have them or not a few weeks ahead of the January events and they can be treated and be done with it.”

As for the seven-day production hold, Pacheco said, “it’s not our duty to call those, but it is not a bad idea. Us giving the free tests does not mean that we are endorsing people to keep shooting as usual. Between the moratorium and the retesting we can all help slow the spread. Even though we are not currently part of PASS, we do communicate in situations like this because the health of the talent population is our No. 1 priority. Health is first.”

PASS Stresses 'Abundance of Caution'

PASS Executive Director Ian O’Brien told XBIZ today that the production hold should be crucial for the industry’s “abundance of caution” approach.

“For chlamydia and gonorrhea, seven days is enough time to reliably detect the majority of infections that may have been missed had a hold not been called,” O’Brien said.

Geographically speaking, PASS has received reports about the STI uptick across the U.S., “but there seems to be a particular increase in Las Vegas and Miami,” O’Brien noted. “We only operate out of the U.S. We do not issue production holds for other regions, though we do monitor what is happening and have issued advisories when local partner organizations have asked for a signal boost. We have received no indication that this increase in STI rates has affected any talent outside of the U.S.”

The current production halt is for all U.S. production, as PASS does not currently have “surveillance systems in place to ensure that localizing production holds would have our intended effect,” O’Brien explained.

PASS has been an independent organization since the end of 2020, though previously it was a program operated by FSC.

“PASS is a wholly independent organization,” O’Brien noted. “We currently do not have income, so we have an agreement with FSC to provide operational and program support — but governance, policy, and programmatic decisions, such as production holds, sit entirely with the PASS organization. While we consult with FSC leadership and they are supportive of the moratorium, ultimately the call belongs to PASS.”

The TTS and CET labs used to partner with PASS until the beginning of the COVID pandemic. TTS withdrew in June of 2020, rejoined in August 2021, and withdrew again in October 2022. CET withdrew in July of 2021.

PASS currently partners with TBD Health, Clear and MPOWERR health labs.

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