I’ve often been criticized on this site because I never talk about porn, but this week I decided to put in my two cents on the subject. I sometimes feel like Kelly Clarkson when she has to talk about American Idol, like, “Yeah I did it. It was great. I appreciate all the people involved and yadda yadda, but look what else I can do.” But this is a subject I feel deserves a little attention. It’s been a controversial subject in the adult industry for years, and this week the argument over condom use came to a sad and inevitable forefront as three UK-based porn actors reported that they had contracted HIV. The news came as a result of a barebacking video with a fourth actor who didn’t realize he was HIV-positive until days after shooting.
HIV infection has always been a concern when it came to the porn industry, but in the past, there have been very few reported outbreaks or instances that involved the spread of HIV. The unidentified young men in this case were ages 18, 21, and 26 and underwent a new 48-hour screening that reported they were positive after their scene partner learned of his status. One of the actors explained to Boyz magazine that it was standard practice in the European industry to perform without the use of condoms. “On all the shoots, we do everything: kiss, rim, fuck. I’m passive, but he didn’t come inside me – that never happens in porn, it’s all face and mouth. It must have been from his pre-cum inside me.” Poor kid.
The sad report comes just days after the controversial David Awards ceremony, which honors outstanding work in the adult industry. The David Awards are the European equivalent to the GVNs, which are handed out annually to companies and models in the adult industry. While the American version doesn’t condone or recognize companies that involve models with unsafe practices like barebacking, the David Awards don’t distinguish between those who promote safe sex and those who don’t.
At the ceremony, award-winning director and porn legend, Chi Chi Larue, was nominated and won in several categories. Larue has been an outspoken champion for safe sex practices and has been instrumental in creating condom PSAs for each of his videos. In an interview with JC Adams, Larue explained that he was unaware that the Awards honored bareback movies as well as safe sex movies, and once he was informed, he told organizers that he would make a statement about bare backing if he were to go up on stage. “The organizers said, ‘No.’ just like that. So I handed them back my Best US Director Award. I said, ‘Take it. Thanks, but I don’t want it.’”
While the straight side of the industry has had mandatory HIV testing in place for the past few years, condom use has been the primary safety measure used in the gay side of the industry. “It’s extremely safe, probably a lot more so than most people have in everyday life,” star Rob Romoni explained. “We go through a lot of condoms during a scene to help prevent breaking and to keep disease risks very low. “
Many of the straight companies have gay subsidiaries and apply their testing policies across the board. HIS is the popular line of gay films created by the Hustler conglomerate, and they require all of their models to get STD tests prior to filming even though condoms are being used. “It’s like a double safety net, to insure the safety of the models,” a HIS spokesperson explained.
In 2004, the straight side of the adult industry stopped filming for several months after model Darren James was found to have contracted HIV while filming in Brazil. Fourteen actresses who had been in films with James were also quarantined, along with 35 of their partners in order to control any spread of the virus. Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, who helped found the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation healthcare, stated that it was very rare for STDs like HIV to spread in the industry given the rigorous testing procedures. AIM healthcare regularly tests over 1,200 actors who are working in the adult industry and, prior to this outbreak, there had never been a reported problem.
On the gay side of the industry most companies insist on condom use and will not work with actors who have appeared in barebacking movies. Performer Drew Case stated that barebacking companies in the US tend to work on the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy when it comes to HIV and STDs. “People assume that if you are performing in barebacking films that you are positive, and are unconcerned about reinfection.“ While that sentiment may be true in the US, many European companies produce barebacking films that do require their models to be tested. The production company involved with this current incident had tested all of their models and apparently the HIV positive one had tested false negative in the “window” where infection is not detected. There are also 48-hour tests that are not considered as reliable, but could be helpful at closing the window before filming a project. Those tests are not currently mandatory, but now film companies may be more ready to use them in order to protect the safety of their models.
It is a multi billon dollar industry that has been a target of constant scrutiny, but has been able to thrive because of the very public which judges it. Most porn consumers of barebacking videos understand the risks that models are taking, and many object; however, the companies are still turning in large profits.
Like with any job, there are hazards and pitfalls that can cause harm, but in this instance those hazards can be dangerous. There is no way to 100-percent limit the risk of spreading HIV and STDs besides abstinence, but condom use has proven to be the most effective and safe method. Hopefully, in the future, companies will begin to understand the importance of condom use as a necessary safety precaution to help limit risk, but the ultimate power lies in the consumer. As long as there is a market for these products, there doesn’t seem to be any immediate resolve to the dangers associated with barebacking porn. So don’t be a silly Billy put a rubber on your willy! Blog Hard!!!
It’s always a business doing pleasure with you.
– Dylan Vox