Patient Alpha, who tested positive for HIV at the end of August, has re-tested negative! Yippie! The results of a second test were announced on Saturday, after the porn industry had been shut down for almost a week, and the unnamed, un-gender-identified, un-age-specific patient doesn’t have the virus after all! Let’s all dance around with glee for a few minutes to know that our friends in the industry aren’t at risk.
Ok, now that that’s over: let’s discuss the issues this whole scare has brought up. Actually, not so much “let’s discuss” as “now I’ll rant”:
1) The industry needs a central testing clinic that can keep track of all performers’ statuses. I recognize the problems inherent in this practice: Porn Wikileaks made them abundantly clear by posting private information about porn peeps all over the internet. But having a central database that easily accessible and can provide important information on STI status seems vital. The Free Speech Coalition is setting one up in APHSS, but it can’t be up and running soon enough.
2) Testing seems, still, to be the way to go. According to an article on OpenMarket.com, with the vague information available on the number of active performers in the industry, the porn population is incredibly less likely to contract HIV than the general population. Like, 0.0007% versus 0.0016% less likely. Chew on that, AHF and condom-pushers.
3) Then again, condoms are fabulous, as are all safer-sex practices, and I feel that if performers want to have safer sex on camera, they should be lauded rather than scoffed at/hired less/paid less. I realize there are a few practical impediments to condom use on sets, but look at Wicked’s success, and the hotness of using barriers and etc. in queer porn. If safer sex is had by people who are totally hot for each other to begin with, the props don’t take away from the sexiness of the scene, IMHO. Take a look at CrashPadSeries.com if you don’t believe me.
And furthermore, I have to interject that in straight scenes where condoms are used but pop-shots are expected (we could get into a discussion of the probability of STI transmission in various sex acts, but you can look that up on your own and I hope you will–suffice it to say that while not 100% safe, pop shots are significantly safer than internal ejaculation), I am consistently impressed with the skill shown by the condom-wearer. It takes skill and finesse to pull of a sex scene and pop shot in any case; stopping at just the right moment, ripping off the condom in one smooth motion and THEN popping your load? Very impressive. A skill not to be sneered at!
And of course, the fact that we’re so settled on the idea that “consumers don’t want to see condoms” says a lot about our attitudes towards sex in this country/culture. Ie, they’re f-ed up. Shouldn’t we be happy to see evidence that performers are having safe sex? I mean, shouldn’t that make us feel good?
4) But testing is still way important. If condoms enter the picture in a big way, I hope very much that they’ll enter WITH mandatory testing.
5) No matter what, it’s great that the threat of HIV this time around has been lowered! Stay safe, all you sexy people in porn valley and elsewhere! We love ya and we want you at your best!