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HIV-Positive Performer Questions Porn Industry's Safety Measures

In October, a porn performer known only as Patient Zeta tested positive for HIV. The news shut down productions and spurred a new round of discussion as to whether the precautions used in the pornography industry are enough to keep performers safe.

24-year-old Derrick Burts revealed that he was Patient Zeta in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, yesterday, and he said condom use should be mandatory in all pornography shoots.

 

As Burts explains it, even though he complied with the industry's testing requirements, he was still infected with HIV by a colleague. The L.A. Times quotes him as saying:

"[The Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation or AIM] likes to state that testing is enough. That's completely false," he said, noting that in the months before he tested positive for HIV, he had also contracted chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes.

"It's very dangerous," he said of adult film work. "It should be required that you wear a condom on the set."

Generally in the straight porn industry, performers are tested once a month by the AIM. But, the problem, as the AIDS Healthcare Foundation points out, is that a performer can still have unprotected sex in between testing.

It's a dilemma that's plagued the industry for years. NPR reported on two HIV cases that stopped filming in 2004 and most recently in May, NPR's Alex Cohen took at look at why many in the porn industry balk at condom use. The bottom line? Consumers don't like condoms. As one big porn producer told Cohen: When Vivid became a mandatory-condom company for nearly seven years, they saw their sales drop by close to 20 percent.

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