The Syphilis Outbreak That is Threatening Your Porn

08/21/2012 10:30 AM |

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It all started last week, with rumors of an outbreak of syphilis that a porn performer brought back from Europe:

Last Thursday, XBiz ran a story on a performer who had falsified a positive test for the STI and was still performing:

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. [XBiz]

And so the Free Speech Coalition called for a moratorium on shooting both professional and amateur porn until the issue could be resolved. All performers were being urged to be re-tested—or tested in the first place, since syphilis isn’t on the usual testing panel. On Monday, the Free Speech Coalition issued an update:

As a result of a performer testing positive for syphilis, APHSS providers are administering the standard RPR syphilis test that is approved by the FDA for preliminary diagnosis. A negative test does NOT mean the performer is approved to work. It is important to note that this test has a large window period — as much as 90 days — and therefore cannot be relied upon to diagnose an acute (recent) syphilis infection. More importantly, a person with an acute infection can be contagious and still test negative. We cannot rely on these tests alone to determine a performer’s availability to work. This test only provides our doctors a baseline from which to base further testing or treatment options.

Free Speech Coalition (FSC) has called a temporary moratorium on production and asks that all producers honor this moratorium. [AVN]

Fortunately, syphilis is treatable with antibiotics, so the outbreak isn’t life threatening. But, as Richard Abowitz points out in the Daily Beast, the situation has an ugly resonance in the industry:

The issue of doctored tests strikes a particularly raw nerve in the adult industry, because a performer who cheated the old system is believed to have been behind a serious HIV outbreak that infected a number of porn stars in the ’90s. The current testing database was created last year by FSC in response to the sudden shuttering of the longtime clinic that served the adult industry, amid lawsuits and a controversy over alleged leaked medical records. The syphilis case is the first major test of FSC’s new system service, APHSS (Adult Protection Health and Safety Services). [Daily Beast]

How this will impact the newly-implemented condoms in porn law remains to be seen, but how it will impact all you porn obsessives is clear: reruns until further notice.