This statement from the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) was posted on AVN on Saturday evening (8/18/12):
CANOGA PARK, Calif.—A performer who tested positive for syphilis has been in touch with FSC and is meeting with FSC’s medical professionals to begin partner identification, evaluation and treatment. FSC has called a temporary moratorium on production until the risk to performers in the industry has been properly assessed and all performers have been tested.
APHSS’ doctors have met and discussed the best avenue to protect the performers and have determined that testing the entire population is the most prudent strategy. A determination will be made by the doctors on the appropriate time to lift the moratorium as more information is revealed.
FSC encourages any performer who may have tested positive for syphilis to contact FSC’s Executive Director, Diane Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 348-9373, and FSC will make sure the performer receives immediate medical support including confidential partner identification and treatment.
FSC will provide daily updates on the situation to the industry through press releases and the APHSS blog.
At face-value, this is actually wonderful news. Though extremely unfortunate for the performer(s) directly involved and for the BTS/production-related workers who will also face an interruption in their livelihoods, syphilis is a bacterial infection (thus, it can be cleared from the body with the aid of antibiotics) and the adult industry has a centralized testing and mitigation system in place with the capacity to assess, contain, and treat performers directly involved.
But like I said, this is good news at face-value only.
Apparently, this situation has actually been developing for days (weeks? months?) now, and it seems to be rooted in the divide that has been brewing between some industry folks who prefer to test at an APHSS approved facility – this allows for the centralized system that enables assessment and treatment in these types of situations – and some industry folks who prefer to test at facilities outside the APHSS system.
(explanation of the APHSS system as I understand it is here)
Allegedly, the performer who has tested positive for syphilis mentioned above tested at a non-APHSS approved facility. This performer then manipulated test results to appear clear of STIs and continued to work.
This series of circumstances is an almost exact replica of the 1998 outbreak situation, which is what prompted development of the now-shuttered AIM healthcare clinic.
A series of extremely troubling articles, each of which provide hints about additional dimensions that may be at play, follow:
August 16, 2012: “AVN Interviews Performers, TTS Owner About Syphilis Rumors” – two performers were casually “informed” about the possibility of syphilis in the talent pool during a routine testing visit at a non-APHSS approved facility. Concerned about what seemed to be no industry reaction, these performers went to AVN with their story.
August 16, 2012: “One Male Performer Is Positive for Syphilis, Agents Say” – later that same day, two adult industry agents made this statement to XBiz: “There is one male performer in the Los Angeles porn community who tested positive for syphilis in July and worked three times with a doctored STI test during the past three weeks, talent agents Shy Love and Derek Hay told XBIZ Thursday afternoon.”
The above-quoted press release calling for a moratorium was issued by FSC on Saturday, August 18. It is important to note that, based on California state and federal law, no statement or action could be taken until the alleged performer came forward with medical information/seeking medical aid from APHSS. Thus, in spite of rumors circulating throughout the industry for days, it seems that the adult industry’s trade organization and centralized testing system acted as soon as it was legally possible.
Interestingly, in light of rumors circulating throughout the industry, several production companies opted to halt production on their own before the FSC issued its release. These producers include kink.com, Evil Angel, and all Manwin-owned channels (Digital Playground, Twisty’s, etc).
This initiative on the behalf of producers is absolutely commendable (or it’s awful that these entities were reacting to “rumors”…?), but it is interesting, significant, and imperative to point out that the full breadth of this situation cannot be measured and worked through safely, efficiently, and legally without the agreement and cooperation of the initially infected person and a centralized system capable of tracking individuals’ work and health histories.
Performers, though certainly you have heard this 100 million times in the last couple days, please get re/tested at an APHSS approved facility!!
A list of APHSS approved facilities can be found here.
Lydia Lee and I have a rather impassioned discussion about this situation on our most recent episode of The Geek Goddesses here. As a former performer, this entire thing has hit very close to home for her.
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