Friday, June 12, 2009

The Latest HIV/AIDS Porn Scandal: Has The Chain Finally Been Broken?

Oh, goodness...I get thrown offline for a few days, and I come back to this.

XBiz.com: HIV "Patient Zero" Tested Positive on June 6


Now, considering that this is the first confirmed positive test for HIV/AIDS within the industry since Darren James and Lara Roxx in 2004, this would actually be a bit encouraging....EXCEPT then I read THIS:

XBiz.com: 16 Previously Unpublicized Porn HIV Cases, LA County Health Says

Obviously, this has not only shaken the core of the LA-based video industry, but has totally revived the debate over government intervention, with one AIDS prevention group even going as far as to propose active protests and submit legislation to impose condom-only and other regulations. It has also revived the typical criticisms from within the industry of the efforts of the AIM Health Care Foundation, which has been the critical force for the last twenty or so years regarding HIV/AIDS/STD testing.

My views about imposing government restrictions and imposing condom-only restrictions on porn scenes generally remain the same as they were during the 2004 outbreak: In this anti-porn climate, most regulation will simply be used and exploited by the usual suspects as a wedge to banish and criminalize porn altogether and to paternalize individual choice regarding whether or not they should have the option of choice. Nevertheless, this latest outbreak might be the straw that basically breaks the industry's back, since the assumption that self-regulation and peer pressure would serve as a effective barrier against contracting STD's has been dealth a critical blow....and in this age of liberal paternalism mixed with conservative sexual ideology, it would be a much easier sell for such restrictions to gain public approval.

Either way, we will all just have wait and see what happens this time.

And I'm sure, as always, that AIM, Dr. Mitchell, Ernest, and Nina are intimately following the developments...as should we all.

Update: Just as I thought and I mostly predicted....nothing close to the hype promoted or the fear level raised. See Ernest's detailed post above.

6 comments:

  1. I'm going to have to say something about this, dammit.

    Be patient. I'm just a bit busy sorting things out at the moment, but you won't have to wait long.

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  2. Talkin’ bout misinformation! I have spent the whole afternoon trying to sort this story out. I finally think that I discovered something over at AVN that seems to make sense. Unfortunately, how many people are going to take the time to track down the actual facts? Gawker media and the LA Times really did a number on that story.

    I hope that Ernest can sort this whole thing out. When and if he does, perhaps we should all get something out about it. Most certainly, The AP people will.

    My other concern is that OSHA now is getting involved. In any industry, when Our Savior Has Arrived gets involved, it is generally bad news.

    Outis

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  3. From the article, its pretty unclear what they're talking about when the LA Health Department talks about 22 adult performers who contracted HIV between 2004 and 2008. In particular, this sentence:

    "It was not immediately clear whether the previously unpublicized HIV infections involved transmission of the virus on the set."

    Hence, its not clear whether this represents transmission within the industry or the fact that within a population of X size (and we're talking about a not-small population here), one will find a certain number of HIV+ individuals. Add to this that the fact that they combine stats for both the gay and straight industries (which have polar opposite approaches on testing and quarantining versus universal protection) and the stats are even less clear. Whether the initial transmission occurred in the industry, or whether said patients were working while HIV positive, or whether further transmission occurred is not established from the context of the article.

    I think its going to renew calls for use of condoms in hetero porn, something that is pretty much the norm in the gay industry (which doesn't test, but simply assumes potential HIV+ status as a given), with the exception of a distinct niche market of barebacking porn.

    This probably should be the norm also in the straight industry, at least when it comes to the most high-risk activities of penetrative anal and vaginal sex. I don't think it should be legally mandated, and I think there's room for exceptions – shooting bareback sex between long-term couples, for example. Oral sex I'm not so sure about – safe sex educators insist the use of barriers should be the norm, but I know from "facts on the ground" that many (possibly most?) people don't do this, and I've seen stats that suggest this is not particularly high risk, albeit, not risk free either.

    The last time OSHA became involved, the rules they set down were pure overkill, mandating not only condoms for high-risk acts, but use of dental dams, gloves, and, I kid you not, eye goggles for all sexual contact. They basically took the rules they've mandated for medical workers and applied this to the porn industry, without regard for context. Naturally, this unworkable strategy was ignored.

    I know Ernest has had plenty to say about condom use being less than ideal in the context of a porn shoot where you're talking about long breaks between sexual activity, having to take time for male talent to regain an erection, etc. Then again, I would imagine the same problems exist in the gay industry, which nevertheless has made protected sex the norm.

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  4. Reading Ernest's lengthy rebuttal and the statement of actual facts has assuaged most of my original concerns....and I can see this as yet another case of fear and Sex Panic and hidden agendas and political power plays overwhelming common sense.

    Of course, it isn't surprising at all that certain elements of the "sex positive" community that have had axes to grind with the mainstream porn industry are swallowing the bait of the OSHA/LA Times/Gawker screeds and exploiting the exaggerations to promote their own agendas of imposing their concepts of presenting sex on the sexual media. Liberals and "progressives" -- and even self-styled "sex positives" -- are no more enlightened or immune from prejudice and deliberate ignorance than their radicalfeminist and traditionalist conservative brethren.

    All the more important that Ernest had to do what he did to let the truth out and end the smears and falsehoods once and for all. More than likely, it won't stop those inclined to sell their own personal vendettas, but at least it will allow AIM to give their side of the story and defend their actions....which, all in all, seem to be quite the usual high standards.

    I do have my personal misguidings about imposing condom-only rules on performers....not only because of the nature of porn production but also simply because of the simple ignorance of not asking the performers about their own preferences. They are the ones putting themselves out there, so why aren't they the ones who get the option of choice, rather than have some bureaucrat or self-styled "expert" impose that choice on them "for their own good"??

    I'm all for general condom usage and promoting "safer sex" and harm protection....but I'm NOT for having the sexual media become the exclusive tool of social behavior modification to impose a narrow vision of such.....even if it might just "save lives". Isolating HIV+ performers and giving them the full treatment and care they deserve while educating others on the risks and how to best negotiate and avoid them is far more preferable.


    Anthony

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. If such an approach would save lives, I'd be all for it. In truth, it would endanger lives, and the fact that this doesn't seem to concern those advocating it indicates once again that virtually all political camps regard sex workers as disposable.

    For the record, when the L.A. Times sent a reporter to this weekend's Erotica L.A. exhibition to interview a few performers, all supported the existing system and none favored government intervention to mandate condoms.

    But, of course, that story got buried under the loads of crap from Fielding and friends.

    Sex workers go unheard in a crucial debate over their own safety. File that under "typical."

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