An FAQ about STIs, Testing and Moratoriums
We've noticed that there is a lot of confusion, both in the media and within the industry about how the decision to call a moratorium is made, how the dates are determined and what protocols are in place to protect adult performers.
HIV is a serious issue, and its important that we deal in facts, not fear or rumor, so we've prepared an FAQ to help people understand the process.
Are Adult Performers Tested for HIV?
Yes. Any performer who wants to work in the adult industry must test clear of STIs, including HIV, within fourteen days of their shoot date. Performers who work regularly generally test every two weeks at PASS-certified testing clinics.
What is the PASS system?
The PASS system is a descendant of AIM (Adult Industry Medical), a healthcare foundation created by a performer with the support of FSC to help protect against STIs. Under the PASS system, producers and directors check to confirm that the performer is cleared to perform in the PASS database within the past fourteen days. If a performer does not have a recent test, or shows any irregularity, he or she will not be cleared to perform.
What happens if a performer tests positive for HIV?
If an active performer tests positive for HIV, a moratorium is immediately called and the industry immediately halts all production.
How are moratoriums called?
The doctor at the PASS facility that conducted the test checks to see if that performer has worked on adult film since 2 weeks prior to his or her last negative test. If he or she has, the doctor alerts the Free Speech Coalition, and the Free Speech Coalition calls an industry-wide moratorium. Production is halted while everyone can be retested to make sure no performers are exposed to the virus.
What happens during a moratorium?
During a moratorium, film production stops while doctors work to determine if any one else was exposed, and to establish a genealogy of the virus.
All performers who have worked with or had sexual contact with the positive performer prior to performer’s last negative HIV test are tested and retested. In some cases, third generation partners may be tested as well. The goal is to immediately figure out if anyone else was exposed to the virus and to stop any potential on-set transmissions.
The HIV Positive performer is interviewed to determine the timeline and 1st generation partners. If the performer had sexual contact with other performers off-set, the PASS doctors and FSC will work to make sure those people are informed and tested as well as any other individuals with which the performer had sexual contact.
How is the decision made to lift the moratorium?
A moratorium is only lifted after it is clear there is no threat of transmission.
Only after a genealogy of the virus is established, and all sexual partners have been tested, do the FSC and PASS discuss whether it is safe for performers to resume shooting.
If the FSC and PASS determine that it is safe to lift the moratorium, they set a date on which production can resume. All performers must then retest in order to be cleared for work. The retests must happen no less than 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.
The HIV RNA Aptima test used by PASS has a 7-10 day window, meaning that it can identify HIV within 7-10 days of transmission. However, we wait at least 14 days after any possible exposure before lifting the moratorium for added accuracy, and to make sure that nothing was missed.
Why not wait longer?
In some cases, we do. If there are any irregularities, or if we suspect that there may be any extant threat to the performer pool, we hold the moratorium. We only lift the moratorium if there is no medical reason for it to be extended. We try to balance performer safety with the performer’s desire to work. While most studios stockpile films and can weather a longer moratorium, individual performers often have to contend with a direct loss of income once shooting stops.
How accurate are the tests?
The HIV RNA Aptima test is the most accurate test available. Because of its specificity and sensitivity a false positive (where a performer tests positive for HIV, but does not actually have it) will occur from time to time. We have never encountered a false negative and understand the incidents of false negatives to be exceedingly rare.
What else do you test for before HIV?
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.
• Chlamydia (by “ultra-sensitive DNA amplification”)
• Gonorrhea (by “ultra-sensitive DNA amplification”)
Why not just use condoms?
Unfortunately, condoms aren’t perfect. They break. In the shoots that can take several hours, they can cause abrasions known as “condom rash,” which, paradoxically, can make it easier to transmit an infection if one does break. For this and a host of other reasons, performers generally prefer to rely on the testing system over condoms. You can read more about that here.
PERFORMER TESTING UPDATE
On Friday, a performer who had worked in the adult industry tested positive for HIV during the mandated fourteen-day industry screening. Since then, there has been a lot of speculation about the performer — including a name — in both social media and on blogs, a fair amount of it unfounded and some of it ugly. The performer deserves privacy and dignity at this difficult time, and we ask that our colleagues and the media respect the performer’s wishes for privacy unless he or she wishes to speak.
Understandably, the larger performer pool is concerned about whether they’ve been affected or exposed. Due to HIPPA regulations, the PASS doctor working with the performer can not discuss any specifics of the performer’s case with the public, or even with us, so be wary of rumors. We can, however, tell you this:
- All first-generation contacts (people with whom the performer had contact, on-set or off, that could have transmitted the virus, within the window of the last negative test) have been contacted and tested.
- We should have all results of those tests by early next week. We’ll alert you as we know.
- The positive performer is working with the testing doctors to determine a timeline and genealogy of the virus, and to determine if the performer pool was exposed.
That said, we want to remind those who would point fingers — either at the performer or his or her work — is that HIV is a virus, not a moral issue. It affects all people, and all populations, and occupations; all of them deserve compassion. Whoever this performer is, he or she is one of our own, and should be treated with the same respect and dignity that we’d want for ourselves in this situation.
We will release more information as we are able.
Industry Calls Production Moratorium After Positive HIV Test
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 positive HIV test for an adult performer.
“There was a positive test at one of our testing centers. We are taking every precaution while we do research 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.
FSC called for all production to halt immediately, until further notice. Updates will be posted to the FSC-PASS website and the FSC blog.
Statement Issued By FSC-PASS on Wednesday, November 27
We want to assure you that rumors of an antibiotic-resistant strain of gonorrhea in the adult performer population are untrue and unfounded. No such cases exist in the active tested performer population, according to doctors at each of the testing facilities. That said, as always, we encourage people to be vigilant in their personal lives, and to report any concerns to Free Speech Coalition or an affiliated testing facility.
Also, just a reminder that all testing facilities will be closed on Thursday, November 28, for Thanksgiving. Talent Testing and Cutting Edge Testing will be closed the following Friday and Saturday reopening for regular hours on Monday, December 2nd. STD status will have limited draw stations available on Friday November 29.
We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.
PASS and FSC staff members.
Film Permits for Adult Production Plummet in Los Angeles
'Measure B’ condom law blamed for over $450,000 in lost permitting revenue as shoots, jobs move out of state
According to information from film permitting agency FilmLA, only 24 permits for adult film productions in Los Angeles County have been filed as of their last report in 2013. That number is down significantly from approximately 480 permits filed by this time last year and prior to last November’s passage of Measure B , L.A. County’s controversial condom mandate for adult film productions.
This means that, at an average cost of $1,000 in fees for each permit, L.A. County has lost approximately $456,000 in revenue. Added to this loss, L.A. County is also involved in a costly lawsuit challenging Measure B, which is currently on appeal. And, if the Measure B regulations were implemented, this would mean that L.A. taxpayers would be obligated to pay for a new local agency to serve as “condom inspectors” on adult production sets – an expensive proposition overall.
“We predicted that lost jobs and revenue would be one of the results of AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s (AHF) misguided attempts to police the adult industry,” said Free Speech Coalition CEO Diane Duke. “As a result of the passage of Measure B, hundreds of thousands of dollars in permit fees have gone elsewhere — and that does not take into consideration the jobs and vendor revenues that have followed the productions out of LA County and for some companies, out of the state of California entirely.”
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