By Edwin Folven, 9/20/2012
Actors support use of condoms in adult films
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) formally launched the “Yes on B” campaign Monday for its November ballot initiative that would require condom usage in adult films. AHF also enlisted adult film performers to illustrate why such regulations are necessary.
“I had been an adult film performer since the late ‘90s, and became HIV-positive in 2004,” actor Darren James said. “Your career is over, and you have to figure out how to move back into the workforce. Now, I am trying to educate people in the community about the dangers of HIV, and I am putting myself out there to maybe lift some awareness about what is going on. It is definitely a big problem in that industry. I hope things will change.”
Former adult film actor Derrick Burts added that condom usage would also prevent the spread of other sexually transmitted diseases.
“I first got into the adult film industry in the summer of 2010, and had been in for about three months when I contracted chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and ultimately HIV,” Burts said. “I thought if everybody else was testing and everybody else is clean while I’m working with them, I would be all right. When I contracted herpes, that’s when I decided I didn’t want to work in this industry, but it is hard to transition from being an adult film performer back into the workforce. I went back to work, and that is when I contracted HIV.”
AHF president Michael Weinstein said that requiring condom use in adult films is the only way to limit the spread of sexually transmitted diseases between performers. He added that it would also prevent the adult film performers from spreading STDs to members of the general pubic.
“We are currently in the midst of a global syphilis outbreak in the adult film industry, and we don’t know how many cases there are,” Weinstein said. “There have been thousands of cases of STDs reported over the last five years, and we don’t know where the syphilis outbreak is going.”
Allen Solomon, a spokesman for the L.A. County Department of Public Health, confirmed that at least nine cases of syphilis related to the adult film industry have recently been reported. He declined to comment on the upcoming ballot initiative because it is against department policy.
Measure B would require the adult film producers to pay a fee to cover the cost of enforcing the program. Weinstein said it is unclear exactly how the ordinance would be enforced, but it would likely be through spot checks at adult film shoots. Burts added that although it is too late for him, the upcoming ballot measure has the potential to save countless people from becoming infected in the future.
“No one is at fault. I made the decision to go into the adult film industry,” Burts added. “I wish I had taken more time to become educated, and wish the industry had more education. A lot of performers want condom use.”