US porn industry hit by HIV scare

US porn industry hit by HIV scare - 17th April 2004
(Credit: Fairfax)

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The multi-million-dollar US pornographic film industry was reeling from a two-month production shutdown after three X-rated actors tested positive for HIV.

The Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation (AIM), which monitors the health of adult film actors, announced the moratorium and testing and said actor Darren James tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Lara Roxx and Dynasty, two actresses who appeared in movies with James, have tested positive. The industry is now gearing up to examine more than 45 other actors.

The production halt follows months of warnings from medical organisations that opposed films in which actors do not use condoms. Only 17 per cent of actors wear condoms, according to the AIM.

The AIM frequently tests adult film stars for HIV, and the last actor to test positive was Tony Montana in 1999.

While X-rated production giant Vivid and other producers cancelled filming, some in the industry worried about the moratorium's financial consequences.

"I'm against any stop in production," said Tyler Cash, a producer with Sinamotion Pictures. "It will put a lot of people out of business. You'll have people who will start losing their apartments. It's just not fair."

Ric Williams, general manager of production company Private USA, said: "At this time Private has decided to halt productions, as our chief concern is the health and safety of our talent," according to the website Adult Industry News.

"Our best wishes, hopes and prayers are with those who might be affected by the current climate," he added.

Several porn production companies are based north of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley.

Jack Kyser, chief economist of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, said the adult film industry plays an important role in the local economy.

Tim Connelly, editor of porn industry magazine AVN News, said actors will suffer more from the shutdown than production companies.

"There are companies who are canceling movies already in production," Connelly said. "The industry generates billions of dollars a year, but the consequences for manufacturers and producers will be minimal. It will affect the performers."

Jenna Jameson, dubbed by Rolling Stone magazine the most famous porn star in the country, said the shutdown makes sense.

"The fact is that the adult industry as a whole has been remarkably free of (sexually transmitted diseases) and HIV, considering that sex is what we do for a living. We must do even more to prevent it from taking root among performers," she said.


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HIV scare calls halt to porn shoots - 17th April 2004

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