AIDS in the pornographic film industry

AIDS in the pornographic film industry

The transmission of AIDS in the pornographic film industry has become a major cause of concern for pornographic film directors and actors since the 1980s.


1980s outbreak

In the 1980s, an outbreak of HIV led to a number of deaths of erotic actors and actresses, including John Holmes, Wade Nichols, Marc Stevens and Al Parker. This led to the creation of the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, which helped set up a system in the U.S. adult film industry where erotic actors are tested for HIV every 30 days.[1]

AIDS detection system

All sexual contact is logged, and positive test results lead to all sexual contacts for the last three to six months being contacted and re-tested. The use of condoms became standard in films featuring homosexual anal sex. Due to accurate and mandatory medical tests, HIV cases are nowadays rare in the pornographic industry. The system seemed to be effective, with very few AIDS cases among porn actors. Marc Wallice, a known IV drug user, tested HIV positive in 1998, sending shockwaves throughout the industry.[2]

2004 AIDS scare

In April 2004, an AIDS scare rocked the heterosexual US porn industry when two pornographic actors tested HIV positive in California, the center of U.S. porn production. The straight segment of the porn industry voluntarily shut down for 30 days (a 60 day moratorium was originally announced but it was lifted early) while it tried to deal with the situation.[3]

Three actors, Darren James, Jessica Dee and Lara Roxx, initially tested positive and were barred from further sexually explicit content production. About sixty actors who had had contact with James or Roxx were barred from working until their next round of HIV testing was completed and they were declared HIV negative. A further estimated 130 actors who had had contact with Gaynor were tested and also received an HIV-negative result. A total of five actors were diagnosed with the virus by the end of the moratorium: one male and four females, including one transsexual.[4][5][6]

2.4 % rate of STDs

AIM Healthcare Foundation has stated that the rate of STDs in adult film actors in production companies that follow the AIM testing protocols is 2.4%, which they state is "considerably lower than the average for sexually active young people with similar demographics."[7]

Proposed regulations to limit the spread of AIDS

Due to this limited outbreak, the California State government considered regulating the industry. Some proposed to mandate the wearing of condoms during sexually explicit scenes. Industry insiders say this would ruin sales of their wares since the unprotected content is one of the selling points of some of their films. They say the wearing of condoms ruins the sexual fantasies of many viewers. Insiders say that such regulation would force the industry underground, out of California or overseas where it would be more prone to health risks for performers. The non-profit Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation is working with the government, trying to develop policies that both the industry and the government would find acceptable.[8]

Additional reports in 2009

In June 2009, AIM Healthcare Foundation reported that a female adult entertainer had become HIV+-though it is believed transmission occurred in her private life. LA County Public Health claimed that there had been 16 "unreported" HIV case in the adult film industry. AIM Healthcare Foundation claimed those cases did not involve actors in production companies that followed their testing protocols and included members of the general public that use AIM Healthcare testing services or were individuals attempting to work in the porn industry who never were able to obtain employment in adult films because of their failure to prove freedom from HIV or other STD's.[9] No other actress or actors have been infected with the virus.

In 2010

On October 12, 2010, the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation reported that an actor or actress have been infected with the HIV virus. The name and gender of the person was not released to the public.[10] Vivid Entertainment and Wicked Pictures were the first few companies to announce production shutdown. Although Wicked Pictures allow some performers to wear condoms, the company is shutting down to wait for the quarantine list.[11] Several porn studios have shut down production to prevent infection of the virus.[12]

No other performers have been tested HIV positive.[13]

In December 2010, the HIV positive performer was identified as Derrick Burts. Burts has worked in straight and gay pornography.[14] Despite contracting gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis Burts continued taking part in unprotected sex in heterosexual, but condom only homosexual films before quitting once he was diagnosed as being HIV positive. He was informed by the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation that he had contracted the disease, which according to Burts, he received on set while having oral sex scene with another "HIV positive male actor".[15]

As of August 30th, 2011, the industry was in a temporal shut down because of news of an outbreak when a performer was tested positive for the virus. Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, confirmed the situation. They have since resumed production when a performer was restested and it came back negative.


  1. ^ Basten, Fred; Laurie Holmes and John C. Holmes (1998). Porn King: The John Holmes Story. John Holmes Inc.. ISBN 1-880047-69-1. 
  2. ^ Biography at Excalibur's Porn Star Mall
  3. ^ AIDS in pornography industry of California contained says adult industry body
  4. ^ AVN :: Test Results Pending for Two Performers
  5. ^ Gene Ross (2007-05-27). "Lara Roxx Timeline Begs Questions: Darren James got it from Lara Roxx, not the other way around?". Adult FYI. 
  6. ^ "Pyramid of potential infection". Los Angeles Times. 2004-04-16.,1,4216028.graphic. Retrieved 2008-03-20. "Time line of potential first and second generation infections" 
  7. ^ "Superior Court Quashes CAL-OSHA'S Attempt to Subpoena Confidential AIM Medical Records". AIM Medical. 2009-10-20. Retrieved 2009-10-21. 
  8. ^ The Adult Film Industry: Time to Regulate?
  9. ^ More porn HIV cases disclosed
  10. ^ "Porn Actor has Tested Positive for HIV; Industry Clinic Officials Confirm a Quarantine is in Effect". Los Angeles Times. October 12, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Wicked Pictures and Vivid Entertainment Suspend Production as a Precaution Amid New HIV Case in Porn Performer". Los Angeles Times. October 12, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Positive HIV Test Halts Porn Shoots at Companies". Yahoo! News. October 13, 2010. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  13. ^ "HIV Tests Negative for Porn Actors Who Performed with 'Patient Zero'". Los Angeles Times. October 22, 2010. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  14. ^ Hennessy-Fiske, Molly (December 8, 2010). "HIV-positive porn performer speaks out". Los Angeles Times.,0,5306958.story. 
  15. ^ "Derrick Burts: HIV in pornography: the naked truth". The Independent (London). December 23, 2010. 

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