condoms / porn / STDs

HIV Outbreak Brings Up the Same Old Porn Issues

As of late, I’ve been following the press surrounding the recent outbreak of HIV in the porn industry that caused several porn companies to halt production. This unfortunate event has many contemplating, yet again, ways to make the industry safer for performers.

By way of Tracy-Clack Flory’s interview with starlet Madison Young, I learned something I didn’t know before—that the standards for HIV testing in gay and straight porn are different. As is easily witnessed, condoms are sparse in hetero porn and therefore stars take mandatory STD tests every thirty days. In gay porn, however, condoms are the norm and the thirty-day rule does not apply. The porn star that recently tested positive for HIV is rumored to be a crossover performer (who stars in gay and straight porn). Madison Young points out in her interview that standardized testing rules across the porn industry, while no absolute solution, would be helpful. Indeed, such a regulation seems like common sense, no?

But in the wake of these events, Jenna Jameson has also spoken out. In a recent interview she advocated that condoms should be mandatory and enforced by union standards. She argues that the thirty-day rule is no cure all because there is a window period where certain STDs cannot be detected. Hence, condoms are the answer and only unions will insure that performers are not “blacklisted” for demanding them. However, as I’ve written about before: some female performers, namely Nina Hartley, believe that condoms could make the porn industry less safe.

As usual, I’m left feeling ass over tits. And while I’m no expert whatsoever, I can’t help thinking—why not all of the above? It seems clear that mandatory testing should be standardized and that condoms should be made a legitimate choice without negative consequences. For that, unions seem the way to go.

Anyway, I’m off to watch Deep Throat with my husband and a couple friends now. That sounds odd, doesn’t it? But really it’s all in the name of research for my soon to come video blogs. Stay tuned!

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