HIV-infected porn actors call for condom use

By JOHN ROGERS Associated Press

LOS ANGELES—A handful of HIV-positive porn actors called on the adult film industry Wednesday to require that condoms be used on all film sets, saying a recent outbreak of infections proves the industry’s mandate that performers be tested every 14 days isn’t working.
The actors spoke at a news conference called by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the group that lobbied successfully last year for Los Angeles County to adopt a condom requirement for most adult films. A U.S. District Court upheld the law last month, but the porn industry has promised to appeal.

“Condoms in porn is not really that crazy a thing,” said Rod Daily, who said he discovered he was infected last month. “If they do care that much about the performers, they would use condoms.”

Industry officials have said when they tried using condoms after an HIV outbreak nine years ago, the $7 billion-a-year business saw revenue decline as much as 30 percent as audiences made it clear they don’t want them.

“Ultimately it’s just a big industry, and their main concern is money,” said Daily, who was among six current and former porn actors to speak on the subject.

Over the past eight years, Daily added, he has made hundreds of films, mainly for gay audiences, and he has always used condoms in those, where they are more accepted. Daily didn’t say how he believes he became infected, but his longtime girlfriend, a porn actress, learned she was HIV positive shortly before he did.

Industry officials said of the three recent HIV infections they have documented, none appear to have taken place during the making of a film. They called a moratorium on filmmaking until all of the HIV-positive actors’ movie partners could be tested, but filming is set to resume Friday.

“Unfortunately, we can’t control what people do offset,” Steven Hirsch, CEO of the Vivid Entertainment Group, one of the industry’s largest filmmakers, said recently. But he added the required tests every 14 days before an actor can work are keeping HIV from being transmitted through films.

Bay expressed her doubts about that, saying Tuesday that in just the three months she was in the business, during a time when she made only about 10 sex scenes, she saw numerous instances of risky behavior.

On one shoot, she said, an actor working with her cut himself and was allowed to continue filming an explicit scene even though Daily, who was on set that day, would have stood in for him.

“I didn’t realize how unsafe it was until I saw the pictures that Rod showed me,” she said.