Production Hold Lifted

October 20, 2014

OCTOBER 20, 2014

Minduka_AlertThe current production hold has been lifted. FSC’s statement is as follows:

The Free Speech Coalition announces that the production hold from last week has been lifted, and production can continue effective immediately. A production hold was called when it was determined that a performer in the PASS database might have been exposed to HIV in late September, after off-set contact with a performer from an out-of-state set that was not observing PASS protocols. We called a production hold while we conducted precautionary testing with that performer and anyone he or she performed with. All precautionary testing has been completed and there is a medical determination that the performer pool has not been compromised.

Diane Duke, head of the Free Speech Coalition, thanked producers and performers for honoring the hold over the weekend.

“We know that production holds and moratoriums are difficult for performers and producers, but they are integral to the safety of the PASS performer pool. We also realize that the lack of information in these situations can also be frustrating; however, it’s crucial that we maintain medical privacy for the performers involved.”

“The PASS database and protocols are crucial to protecting performers. This is why we are working so doggedly on regulations that will encourage full compliance with PASS no matter where they shoot.  All indications are that full compliance with the PASS system continues to protect performers and prevent on-set transmissions. In addition, our moratorium protocols effectively provided testing and prevented any compromise to the performer pool.”


UPDATE: Production Hold Extended

October 17, 2014
FREE SPEECH COALITION EXTENDS PRODUCTION HOLD THROUGH MONDAY
The Free Speech Coalition is asking that all producers extend the current production hold through Monday until all tests for possibly affected performers are conclusive.
Diane Duke, head of the Free Speech Coalition:
“We understand that production delays are difficult for performers as well as producers. However, as always, for the safety and intergrity of the performer pool, we need to err on the side of caution. We will continue to work with producers, performers and the health department to investigate, and determine when production can safely continue.”

Member’s Spotlight: Pepper’s Parties, Too

September 26, 2014

Peppers_Parties_TooMeet Kathi Sherman and James Hubbard of Pepper’s Parties Too, located in Hattiesburg, MS. Like many pleasure products retailers, Kathi and James have had a hand in a little bit of everything, including home parties and sexuality seminars – until finally, demand for product and education inspired them to open a brick-n-mortar store in January, 2012.

And though the South has a reputation for being a somewhat difficult region in which to build an adult-oriented business, they have found their success being supported by customers, as well as local city officials.

How’d they do that?

“Pepper’s Parties Too is bright and educationally entertaining, and is promoted as a ‘Couples Boutique’ instead of a sex shop and the locals and out-of-towners embrace it,” said Kathi.

“We’ve done several types of events in our store – but our latest venture is Sexy Secrets Seminars where we have the opportunity to do some real adult education. Our first topic was ‘Keeping the Spice in Your Relationship’ and it went so well, we had to do a Part 2 encore. This week, we discussed the basics of restraint and fantasy play,” Kathi added. “I feel an obligation to discuss safety techniques and educate the consumer so they have a positive experience. Future seminars include ‘Finding the Mysterious G-spot,’ ‘Pelvic Floor Muscles,’ ‘Rope Tying,’ ‘Are Hormones the Problem,’ ‘Getting the Most out of Your Pleasure Products,’ and ‘Sex After 30-40.’”

Prior to opening the shop, Kathi and James operated out of their own home, with the goal to bring grown-up sexuality education to Southern Mississippi. Kathi tells a funny story of one neighbor that decided she’d better report them for having so much foot traffic in-and-out of the house.

“One lady (very religious Pentecostal lady in her late 60’s) decided she’d had enough and called the local police department. She told them we were probably selling drugs because people came and went all day long. They informed her that we didn’t sell drugs, but we did have things that can give you a buzz! Without even notifying us about it, our local PD would stand up for us during City Council meetings telling the town that we weren’t doing anything wrong or illegal. The fact that we worked by appointments and didn’t have a flashing neon sign was our saving grace, too. James later became a reserve officer and Taser instructor for a few years as a way of giving back to our community!”

With backgrounds in psychology, both Kathi and James know the value of community building. By reaching out and being open to interaction with local authorities and consumers, they seem to have avoided many pitfalls that can be encountered when opening an adult boutique.

James also is an early proponent of the FSC’s Code of Ethics program. The program encourages all FSC members to place a COE emblem in stores or on packaging, content clips and websites, as a visual cue to customers that they are dealing with a business that upholds high business standards and ethics.

“I see COE endorsement as an avenue to community participation, and provides a huge business opportunity. Because we can now go the professional community and give them a concrete endorsement from our industry that says “Pepper’s Parties Too’s Sexual Health & Wellness Center meets certain standards. We can more easily extend our community integration to doctors, clinics, alternative health providers, and many more targeted community groups,” James said.

“In today’s economy being able to tap the side of the economy that has disposable income is a critical business development path,” he added. “COE is a tool to building relationships in our community and in the long run, increased revenue!”

We really couldn’t have said it better ourselves – COE can be used as a valuable business tool for any FSC vendor business. It tells potential customers and the public that you care about an ethical, responsible approach to doing business.Kathi_and_James

Speaking of ethical and responsible, Kathi and James make sure to participate in their community through local business and entrepreneurial groups, and also as Indy car race officials.

“We inspect the cars pre- and post-race for safety and technical compliance. We are also on pit lane during the race in fire suits and helmets, as pit techs, monitoring pit stops and race activities. This season, we put our race activities on hold and focus only on our business. But can’t wait ‘til next season,” James said.

And we can’t wait to see Pepper’s Parties Too succeed in bringing Southern Mississippi some great educational and pleasure product resources. Both Kathi and James are – pardon the pun – off to the races!


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.


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