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.


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.”


RIP: Gloria Leonard

February 4, 2014

all_about_gloria_leonard_HP03129_LGloria Leonard died last night in Hawaii after suffering a massive stroke only days earlier. She is referred to as the “doyenne” of the erotic film industry by IMDb.com. Truly a pioneer, Leonard was a star of the Golden Age of adult movies, from 1974 to 1984; the publisher of mens’ magazine High Society; a staunch supporter of the First Amendment; and a groundbreaking feminist.

Ms. Leonard also was served as administrative director of the Adult Film and Video Association of America, the adult film industry trade association, from 1989, until that organization merged with the Free Speech Coalition in 1992. In 1998, she was elected president of the FSC.

She fought for the right of free expression and sexuality. Contributions made by Ms. Leonard have paved the way for generations of performers after her. She showed the world that the adult industry is a place where strong, talented women can blossom and succeed.

Good friend and former performer Veronica Vera posted on Facebook this morning, “Last night at 7:22pm, Robin Leonardi communicated to me the sad news that her mom, our beloved Gloria Leonard had passed. She asked that I hold off posting anything last night. Gloria passed with her daughter by her side. Robin’s message: ‘She’s passed. Wish her well on her journey.’ RIP, dear Gloria.”

AVN Hall of Fame Director Roy Karch wrote, “There was only one; a rare feather in the wind that we were lucky enough to have touched our cheeks as it passed this way. Blessed be Gloria, dearest one.”

Industry writer Jared Rutter wrote, “One of a kind, she was a bright light in a shady world.”

She will be missed by family, friends, fans and all those that knew her.


Assemblymember Isadore Hall Reintroduces Condom Legislation as AB 1576

January 31, 2014

320px-California_Capitol,_Sacramento,_CaliforniaFree Speech Coalition (FSC) has learned today new legislation that would mandate barrier protection for adult performers was introduce to the California Assembly by Assemblymember Isadore Hall (D – Compton).

The new bill is called AB 1576 and was introduced prior to the deadline for new bills to reach the assembly. This is the third time that Assemblymember Hall has attempted to push through mandatory barrier protection; in 2013, he sponsored both AB 332 and 640 in unsuccessful bids to legislate condom use in the adult production industry.

“This measure will further drive production out of state and create severe hardships for ancillary businesses,” said FSC CEO Diane Duke. “Last year, we were able to defeat AB 332 and 640 by going to Sacramento to lobby. It made a big difference for legislators to see people show up to protest those bills. When we go there again, to fight AB 1576, we will really need the assistance of everyone in the industry – our livelihood in California is at stake.”

The primary advocate for mandatory condom regulations is nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which has supported Hall’s campaigns to have the bills passed into law. This latest attempt to mandate barrier protection usage is the latest development in AHF’s nearly ten-year long campaign to force legislation on the adult industry.


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