The California Department of Public Health’s Occupational Health Branch says that it documented the on-set transmission of an HIV infection from one adult film performer thought to be working out of state — in Nevada — to another performer.
The case involves a male performer who was filmed performing with other male performers.
The newly infected individual initially tested HIV-negative in California after on-set exposure out of state — shooting films without condoms or protective barriers.
However, two weeks later, the individual in question then tested HIV-positive.
“In this case, the actor and production company thought he was HIV-negative during filming,” the statement from the state health department said. “Shortly after his negative test, HIV levels in his body rose rapidly to where he could infect other actors through unprotected sex.”
In mid-October, the Free Speech Coalition, the adult industry trade group, instituted a moratorium on adult industry filming due to reports of an industry-related infection — most likely this latest HIV case. The filming ban was lifted by the FSC the following week.
California health officials confirmed the on-set transmission after sending blood samples to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which genetically sequenced the virus found and matched it to an adult film actor.
“This is not AHF or supporters of condoms claiming that an HIV transmission occurred on the set of an adult film. This is California’s Department of Public Health and OSHA Occupational Health officials who vetted the performers’ blood samples with the CDC and concluded after genetic sequencing that this HIV infection occurred on set,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “For years adult film producers have claimed that performers who have tested HIV-positive while working in the industry did not contract HIV in the industry, but became infected through exposure in their personal lives outside and away from adult film sets. This new case puts truth to the lie that the industry has promoted year-after-year, years that sadly saw several additional performers infected while working in the porn industry.”
The AHF pushed for a law requiring the use of condoms during adult film work in Los Angeles County.
The adult film industry concedes that it did have three confirmed on–set transmissions in 2004.
Since 2004 there have been numerous other cases of performers testing HIV-positive while working in California’s porn industry, including cases in 2010 and 2013.
“There is no proof that any of these HIV infections over the past decade have not occurred on set other that the porn industry’s word, with the general public and health officials relying on the industry’s own self-reporting,” said Weinstein. “This is a tragic repeat of last year, and of 2010 as well as previous years. Won’t we ever learn?”