The Dangerous Porn Venture

The San Fernando Valley is the capital of the multi-million dollar porn industry. In 2004, porn actor Darren Jams contracted HIV from working in Brazil and spread the virus to three other actresses, one being an eighteen-year-old who had just gotten into porn. Just last month Los Angeles County health officials and The Los Angeles Times reported that a porn actress recently tested positive for HIV. What they later learned was that there have been 16 previously unpublicized cases of HIV since 2004, pushing the number to 22 porn stars. The tragic part is that no one in the industry has learned from the dangers and lack of oversight. Since the 2004 outbreak, efforts were created to protect the porn stars. The recent event sparked debate about the legality of the porn industry. In California it is certainly legal and definitely unregulated.

I find a strange contradiction of sorts. Currently, prostitution is illegal in most states, except Nevada. And in California, prostitution and solicitation for prostitution is prohibited, whereas making money from filming sex scenes and selling these films is an altogether legitimate business. I don’t get it. Are porn stars merely prostitutes that have sex with each other and you are just the paying spectator? Is playing the passive-participant role (watching) instead of the active role (participating) the dividing line?

And what about the porn industry itself? Have they been doing anything to protect their employees? Are their employees merely exploited for their services? The Adult Industry Medical (AIM) Healthcare Foundation has a specific protocol for HIV testing. They recommend porn stars to get tested for HIV every 30 days. One month? Really? Is the porn industry kidding themselves? It takes a nine to eleven day window where a person can be infected, yet still be able to test negative. But because the nature of the work, porn stars don’t just sleep with other porn stars. They are people. They go home and sleep with their significant others. To get tested after a lot of sexual activity with many partners once a month—it’s ridiculous!

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Photo Credit: Minimus

But that’s not the only thing ridiculous. Porn producers often discourage the actors and actresses from wearing condoms, believing that the public favors seeing them performing unprotected sex. The producers are willing to risk their performers’ health to make more money. If we require construction workers to wear hardhats for protection and doctors to wear masks to prevent infection, then why aren’t these porn starts required to wear condoms. The gay porn industry has been using condoms. The straight porn industry could learn a thing or two. But with this lack of regulation, not much is being done.

Maybe people think porn stars aren’t just worth the time, that it’s their fault. Maybe if it was someone else at a more “respectable” job things would change. For now, there is an effort to renew the “Condoms in Porn” legislation in California. The organizers of the law say that it is similar to the Labor Code that requires hard hats as safety precautions in work cites in California. The U.S. Labor Law protects legal workers, thus the real issue now is whether the porn industry is a legal industry. And the debate continues while their employees have health issues that can affect others. What does this reveal about our identities?

Photo Credit: Minimus

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2 Comments

Filed under Entertainment, Life, Movies/TV

2 responses to “The Dangerous Porn Venture

  1. Dude Giovanny, I just fell upon your blog and you have some great content here! Really thoroughly written, with a great writing style.

    And in response to the article, great views on something that is usually not talked about. I really gained a lot of insight in the subject from your post.

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