Moratorium Lifted After Test Proves to be False Positive

August 29, 2014

First generation tests have been returned cleared; production may resume

Yesterday’s potentially positive HIV test by adult performer was a false positive. The performer does not have HIV.  Additionally, the first generation performers who were tested proactively have also come back negative. Production on adult film can resume safely.

We understand that a moratorium is nerve-wracking for performers and difficult for producers. However, it’s essential that when it comes to performer safety, we err on the side of caution. We thank the producers, performers, agents and doctors who worked together during this difficult time for maintaining the moratorium, and for quickly helping establish a list of first generation contacts. While this was a false positive, it is always essential that we remain vigilant in concern to performer health.

The moratorium and testing system has enabled us to prevent any transmission of HIV on an adult film set for over ten years. While opponents of the industry often use our periodic moratoriums as evidence that adult sets are not safe, quite the opposite is true. Moratoriums have and continue to enable us to prevent HIV from being transmitted between adult performers.

Again, we thank everyone who worked so diligently and concertedly to protect performers during this current moratorium.


Moratorium FAQs

August 28, 2014

How are moratoriums called? Walk me through the steps.

  • If a current active performer tests positive for HIV, the doctor from the testing facility in which the performer tested contacts Diane Duke, the Free Speech Coalition’s CEO.
  • The doctor determines if a moratorium is warranted and tells Diane to call the moratorium.
  • A moratorium is warranted if the performer worked with anyone from two weeks prior to his or her last negative HIV test to the date his or her positive result came back.
  • If a moratorium is warranted, FSC/PASS sends out a press release and emails all performers, producers directors and agents about the moratorium.

 

How is the decision made to lift the moratorium? What factors are in play?

  • All performers who have worked with and /or had sexual contact with the performer 14 days prior to the positive performer’s last negative HIV test to present are retested.
  • Performers must wait 14 days from the last sexual contact with the positive performer before retesting.
  • In cases where the performers have to wait more than 4 or 5 days to retest, 2nd generation partners of those performers are retested as well.
  • Once all performers who the positive performer worked with or had sexual contact with test negative, the moratorium is lifted with the provision that all performers must retest—14 days after the date the positive performer received his/her positive results or the date of the positive performer’s last sexual encounter with a performer.

 

What about this 14 day testing window used in the moratorium?

  • The HIV RNA Aptima test used by PASS has a 7-10 day window. At 14 days, the accuracy goes from the 75% accuracy to the upper 90’s.

 

How accurate are the tests? Isn’t it possible that someone could be positive but the test wouldn’t pick it up?

  • The HIV RNA Aptima test is the most accurate test available. Because of its specificity and sensitivity a false positive will occur from time to time. We have never encountered a false negative and understand the incidents of false negatives to be exceedingly rare.

 

You say their hasn’t been an on-screen transmission of the virus, but I’ve read about several in the past few years. 

AHF reports numbers to the media that includes people who want to perform in the industry but have been stopped at the door because they have tested positive for HIV. It is unfortunate for these individuals, but the good news is that they get the information much earlier which helps in the provision of treatment and keeps them from transmitting HIV to others.

 

How do you prove definitively that there wasn’t on-screen transmission?

  • All performers who have worked with the performer who tested positive two weeks prior to the positive performer’s last NEGATIVE HIV test are tested. This time period covers the window period when the performer would have contracted HIV. If they all test negative, then the positive performer could not have contracted HIV from any of those performers thus proving that he or she did not contract HIV on set.
  • All performers who worked with the performer who tested positive are retested two weeks after their last exposure to the positive performer. All of those individuals have tested negative proving that no transmission of HIV happened on set.

 

What about oral sex? Shouldn’t that count?

  • While it is extremely rare to contract HIV through oral sex, the beauty of the testing protocols means your partner tested negative for HIV no matter what type of sex you have.

 

Isn’t even one transmission one transmission too many?

  • Yes and while 5.15 people in LA County alone contract HIV There hasn’t been an on set transmission of HIV in the industry—nationwide—in 9 years. One is too much which is why our testing protocols are in place…they work!

 

What about Hep C. I heard the industry doesn’t test for Hep C.

  • PASS does test for Hep C

 

What about other STIs? Shouldn’t these workers not be exposed to anything? PASS has an extremely rigorous testing protocol designed to reduce the risk of STIs

Performers test every 14 days for:

  • HIV (by “PCR RNA Aptima”)**
  • Syphilis (an “RPR” and Trep-Sure test)**
  • Hepatitis B & C.

 

Urine test for:

  • Gonorrhea (by “ultra-sensitive DNA amplification”)**
  • Chlamydia (by “ultra-sensitive DNA amplification”)**
  • Trichomonias

 

If performers really don’t want to use condoms, why don’t producers give them the choice?

PASS supports condom optional sets. However producers can mand ate condoms at their discretion.

 


Production Moratorium Called After Positive HIV Test

August 28, 2014

Red triangular other dangers warning sign on white(August 28, 2014) – Free Speech Coalition (FSC), the adult industry trade association, called for a production moratorium today after one of the testing facilities in its PASS testing system reported a possible positive HIV test for an adult performer.

“There was a positive test at one of our testing centers. Confirmatory tests are not yet back but we are taking every precaution to protect performers and to determine if there’s been any threat to the performer pool,” said FSC CEO Diane Duke.

 
“We take the health of our performers very seriously and felt that it was better to err on the side of caution while we determine whether anyone else may have been exposed.”
The next steps will be to perform additional tests, determine a timeline, and identify any first generation partners.

 
“We want to make sure all performers are protected. The performers’ health and safety is the most important thing,” Duke added.

 
As of this notice, FSC calls for all production to halt immediately, until further notice.

 
For more information on the moratorium, updates will be posted to the FSC-PASS website and the FSC blog.


Controversial Condom Mandate Dies in Senate

August 14, 2014

Picture 1Performer and Producer Groups Celebrate Successful Battle Against AB1576

AB1576, the controversial condom mandate that was opposed by both performers, producers and civil rights groups, died today in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill was the third attempt bill by Assemblymember Isadore Hall to mandate condoms in adult film, and the third to fail.

Diane Duke, head of the Free Speech Coalition, said the industry was pleased with the decision.

“We’re grateful to the members of the Senate who saw this bill for what it was — a bald-faced attempt to exploit performers for political gain. But the assault had an unintended consequences — it unified performers and producers in ways that we haven’t seen in decades. Out of this grows a stronger industry, one not unintimidated by harassment campaigns like AB1576 and Measure B. But the battle is never over. We must continue to work to make sure our workplaces are safe, that our performers have a strong voice in their sexual health, and that we keep a thriving industry in California.”

Opponents of the bill warned legislators that the bill, which was written without input from either performers or producers, would have the opposite of its intended effect, and make sets less safer by pushing them underground. The bill also garnered large amount of opposition outside the industry, including from AIDS and HIV outreach organizations, sex worker rights organizations, LGBT groups, and mainstream publications like the Orange County Register, the LA Daily News and the LA Times.


Appropriations Committee Puts AB1576 On Suspense

August 4, 2014

hashtag2AB1576, the controversial condoms in porn bill, was placed in the suspense file today by the Senate Appropriation Committee. Bills are put on suspense file when their cost to the state exceeds a certain budgetary limit. The bill will be discussed further by the Appropriations committee after the state budget is completed, and will be announced with a simple up or down vote later next week.

The implementation of AB1576 was estimated to cost the state between $125K to $150K. The calculated amount does not incorporate any costs related to lost tax revenue or jobs, nor any lawsuits related to the bill. Diane Duke, head of the Free Speech Coalition had the following statement:

“Assemblymember Hall said today that he’s speaking for people without a voice, yet the bill has been overwhelming opposed by performers and performer’s groups. That he could say that with a straight face after dozens of performers spoke out against him is incredible. It’s not that they don’t have a voice, it’s that he’s not listening.

“The more legislators hear about the bill, the more they don’t like it. This bill will have major financial cost for the California, while doing nothing to improve the safety of performers. And it’s not just performers and producers who are opposed to the bill, it’s HIV and AIDS outreach organizations, sex worker rights organizations, LGBTQ organizations, and business organizations. This morning, we had a great anti-AB1576 editorial written by LA Times editor Jim Newton, joining the Orange County Register and the LA Daily News in their opposition to the bill. It’s a broad coalition. Just about the only people fighting for it are AHF and Hall.”

Opposition to the bill includes the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, AIDS Project Los Angeles, Project Inform, the Center for HIV Law and Policy, the Positive Women’s Network, the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance, the Harvey Milk Democratic Club, the St. James Infirmary, the Erotic Service Providers Union, the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, and the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA).

“There has not been a single transmission of HIV on an adult film set in over ten years, thanks to vigorous adult industry safety protocols,” says Duke. “Yet the bill has used fear and misinformation to take away performer’s control over their bodies and pushes the industry out of state.”


FSC Statement on Affirmative Vote by CA Senate Labor Relations for AB1576

June 25, 2014

This morning, California Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee cleared AB 1576, the legislation to require mandatory barrier protection use on adult production CA-Senate-Sealsets. The bill will now proceed to be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Regarding today’s developments, Free Speech Coalition issued this statement:

“Today’s vote is a slap in the face to adult performers, who have been outspoken in their opposition this bill and have worked so hard to defeat it. In his words and actions, Hall has made it abundantly clear that he knows little about the performers he seeks to control, and respects their opinions even less. He has not worked with them on this bill, and has actively spurned their offers to create an alternate solution that would strengthen comprehensive workplace safety measures while respecting their real concerns about privacy and personal choice.

Supporters of AB 1576 stated again in the hearing that the bill relies on the PASS database for testing and enforcement. That Hall would rely on our private procedures says something both about the strength of our existing  procedures, and the short-sightedness of Hall as to what this bill will cost the state. As the bill approaches appropriations, we suspect that Senators will have very serious concerns about how a private testing system run privately serve as the backbone for government regulation.

We understand that Assemblymember Hall wants a bill for his legacy, but such legacy should not be built on the backs of adult performers.”


The 9 Most Outrageous Flaws In AHF’s Performer STI Study

June 12, 2014

The numbers regarding STI transmission put out yesterday by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation are shocking in their duplicity, and the study is shameful in its methodology.

For months, AHF has claimed that its mandatory condom bill, AB1576, was not an attack on the industry or its performers. However, it’s clear from this study that they have no respect for performers themselves, and that their ultimate goal is not to improve the industry, but to shut it down. In his press conference, Michael Weinstein claimed that performers were a threat to public health, and are “leading to the spread of disease outside the industry.”

If AHF wanted to foment a moral panic about porn, this study is a great way to do it. A few points worth bearing in mind as you consider their conclusions.

  • Rather than publishing the study, which would allow the press to examine the numbers and the methodology fully, AHF released it as an infographic poster — less information than you’d get an 8th grade science project. This isn’t data, it’s propaganda.
  • Rather than only using data from the regulated facilities where adult performers test every two weeks, and which would provide a true random sampling, AHF solicited a portion of their participants instead from an STI treatment clinic, which they knew would skew numbers higher.
  • A full 20% of the participants in the study had not shot a single adult film in the past month, making the claim that these numbers reflect workplace transmissions spurious at best.
  • In fact, over 70% of the participants said they didn’t use a condom in their private life, and another 23% said they had exchanged drugs/sex for money. AHF made no effort to distinguish STIs that came from adult film workplaces from those contracted off-set. Furthermore, it fails to mention that any performer who tested positive for an STI at an industry testing center would be prevented from working. Still, in their press release, AHF stated that this study “[confirms] the high STD risk performers face at work.” No, it doesn’t.
  • This abstract, released before the study began, shows that they went into the study looking for a specific result — that adult film performers are a threat to themselves and others — rather than an accurate one.
  • They didn’t get the numbers they wanted on other STIs, so they left them out. The initial proposal for the study stated an intention to study STIs including syphilis and HIV. They only released data on chlamydia and gonorrhea, suggesting that even with their skewed methodology, they couldn’t generate the evidence of the STI danger they wanted.
  • The additional data they released about prostitution and drug use has nothing do with safe workplaces, and everything to do with debasing adult film performers. Because they haven’t released the backing data or even the questions used, no one can even evaluate this for truth, or see how it correlates. There are good reasons this paper hasn’t found a publisher.
  • The data shows that porn performer have access to, and do often use condoms. Even in their own skewed study, almost a third of participants said they had used a condom on an adult film set in the past thirty days, which counters to their oft-repeated claim that performers denied condoms on set, and are “blacklisted” if they request one.
  • This is not the first time that AHF has released data that was flawed and had to be retracted. Or even the second time. In fact, AHF has a long history of using junk science to support political campaigns.

This report treats adult performers like pariahs, and has little to do with workplace conditions. It’s tremendously revealing about AHF true intention, and the lengths they’ll go to push this bill on performers. Wisely, adult performers are familiar with AHF’s tactics and have been vehement in their opposition to AB1576 from its inception. Over 600 performers have signed a petition asking legislators to vote against AB1576, because it will criminalize adult filmmaking and make their working conditions less safe.

It’s also worth noting that in introducing the study, Michael Weinstein of AIDS Healthcare Foundation said that HIV is not his primary concern, STIs are. This is in stark contrast to everything he’s said for years, the people he has put forth at hearings, and the mission of his organization. It seems his own research is telling him what performers and producers have been trying to tell him — there hasn’t been a workplace transmission of HIV in the adult film industry in over ten years.

We look forward to the release of the actual numbers so that we can have an honest discussion about the real risks faced by adult performers, and how to best educate and protect them. We call on AHF to release the methodology and the raw data behind this study.

In the meantime, if you’re curious why performers oppose AB1576, check out this piece in Huffington Post by Casey Calvert.


%d bloggers like this: