The adult film industry is back to business as usual after being shut down Aug. 29 because an actor tested positive for HIV.
The Associated Press reported Saturday and Los Angeles television station KTLA-5 confirmed Sunday that the actor who yielded a positive HIV test was subsequently retested and found to be without the virus that causes AIDS.
"L.A. County ordered a temporary shutdown of adult filmmaking last week after the male performer tested positive for HIV in order to allow time for further testing," KTLA reported. "Retesting proved that the performer does not have the virus."
Last week's temporary shutdown provided the national media entrée to a roiling conflict between two organizations associated with adult films: the Free Speech Coalition and AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
Free Speech Coalition is the industry group tasked with maintaining a database of the blood tests that adult film performers are required to take every 30 days, television station KNBC-4 reports.
"FSC is working on a database to track sexually transmitted disease testing among porn actors, a task formerly handled by the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation before it closed in December 2010. Known as AIM, the San Fernando Valley clinic had catered to porn stars since it opened in 1998. It was forced to close because of inadequate licensing."
However, AIDS Healthcare Foundation wants condom use to be mandatory in adult films and is openly critical of Free Speech Coalition's position that frequent testing is an effective deterrent to transmitting venereal disease during porn shoots. In fact, AIDS Healthcare Foundation is trying to put an initiative on Los Angeles County's June 2012 ballot that would make condoms mandatory for adult films.
A new Daily Beast article broadly surveys the current state of the porn industry's safety mechanisms.
"Widespread condom use could do wonders for safety in such an unwieldy environment, but Christian Mann, general manager of … one of the large, traditional Los Angeles-based porn companies (and a volunteer member of Free Speech Coalition's board implementing the new database system) has been in the business for decades and says the industry will never go condom-only. 'If the AHF [AIDS Healthcare Foundation] succeeds in turning California into a condom-mandatory environment, what you will see is a lot of production in many scattered places. … If the production scatters, that will make the problem worse.' "
Some academics believe the ongoing hullabaloo about performers using condom isn't the most pressing issue regarding the adult film industry — that a much better topic for public debate would be the ways in which pornography affects its consumers.
"Pornography, by offering an endless harem of sexual objects, hyperactivates the appetitive system," wrote Dr. Norman M. Dodge of Columbia University, in conjunction with the Witherspoon Institute's October 2010 publication of The Social Costs of Pornography. "Porn viewers develop new maps in their brains, based on the photos and videos they see. Because it is a use-it-or-lose-it brain, when we develop a map area, we long to keep it activated. Just as our muscles become impatient for exercise if we've been sitting all day, so too do our senses hunger to be stimulated."
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