by Michael Whiteacre
Over the weekend, blogger and amateur pornographer Mike South reported that a male adult performer in Los Angeles had tested positive for syphilis, and that he could have directly exposed as many as 15 other performers. South repeatedly used the sensationalistic term “syphilis outbreak.”
As is often the case, South got it not only wrong — but wrong in a way that painted the mainstream adult business in a negative light.
Then, quicker than you can say “bukkake”, AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein jumped all over the story, issuing a press release and even, linking to South’s website.
Ever the grandstander, Weinstein’s spin was that this all could have been prevented if only county officials were enforcing Measure B — the law requiring mandatory “barriers” in porn:
“We are calling on county health officials to fully investigate this latest syphilis case and possible outbreak in the adult film industry,” Weinstein said. “Information about this current case comes from an extremely reliable industry source. And while we hope this is a limited situation that results in no additional infections, we are also calling on the county to immediately step up and enforce the provisions and requirements of Measure B.”
On Monday, LA County health officials said they hadn’t received any official reports of any performer testing positive and therefore could not confirm the existence of a new case.
“While (the Department of Public Health) is aware of media reports about a possible case of syphilis that may be connected with the Adult Film Industry, a confirmatory case report has not been received by DHSP,” the county announced. “If this case were to be confirmed, DHSP will investigate it according to routine protocol, which includes interviews with sexual partners of individuals who are infected.”
Was a conspiracy afoot by reckless scofflaw pornographers to withhold information from the county? Those bastards!
Today, Tuesday, an AHF press release announced: “As a result of this reported infection, officials [lol — “officials”] from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) yesterday called on the County of Los Angeles Department of Health Services to fully investigate the case (and the possible outbreak it may generate), noting that the infection and exposure of other performers could have been prevented if L.A. County Health had enforced Measure B, the Los Angeles County Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act—a law that requires condom use on all adult film sets in Los Angeles County.”
Let’s set aside, for a moment, that condoms cannot be said, definitively, to “prevent” syphilis infection, because syphilis often affects areas not covered buy a condom; and that, according to AHF, Measure B only requires condom use for vaginal and anal penetrative sex (and the nature of the sex acts in question were not known to AHF “officials”); and that AHF had no way of knowing what part of the the performer in question’s body had been affected…
It turns out there’s a very good reason LA County Department of Public Health had not been sent a confirmatory case report: of a syphilis infection:
There has not been a confirmed case.
Today, LATATA, the Licensed Adult Talent Agency Trade Association, announced that the medical tests of a single male performer, identified as Clover, were inconclusive for syphilis. In all, four tests, administered by two different testing facilities were inconclusive.
Clover states, “On August 3, I received an inconclusive test result for Syphilis. I immediately contacted my agent, Kevin O’Neil with Type 9 Models, who in turn contacted his fellow agents with LATATA. Together with Kevin, I produced a list of everyone I worked with since my previous clean test.”
“Following the advice of LATATA, I went to a different testing facility on August 5 and took the same test again, as well as two additional types of tests, all for Syphilis,” explains Clover. The results were once again inconclusive. According to LATATA, within thirty seconds, Clover phoned O’Neil with the news.
“I thought it was of the utmost importance to act as fast as possible by contacting my agent,” adds Clover. “This way all involved could begin acting accordingly. I respect the adult industry and believe it is important for everyone to work together to create the safest environment possible.”
“Communication is the key when confronting a situation like this,” said LATATA member Derek Hay, owner of LA Direct Models. “The adult industry has procedures in place to protect its performers, which when adhered to, lead to an effective means of limiting risk.”
“On behalf of LATATA and all agencies, Clover is to be commended for his immediate, thorough and transparent response to the possible threat of Syphilis,” adds Hay. “He put the safety of the performers of the industry first, as we all should, and he continues to do so.”
Based upon the recommendation of Talent Testing Services, LATATA advises Clover, and all other performers who were informed of their first generational contact with him between his last negative test and the tests delivering uncertain results, abstain from filming for one week, when the same battery of three tests for syphilis be repeated,” LATATA’s statement read. “This advice will be followed and adhered to by Clover,” the LATATA statement adds.
In a week, or less, we will likely know whether there has been an actual syphilis infection among the Los Angeles performer pool. Until there is a single confirmed case, however, all those extremely reliable industry bloggers ought to shitcan the “syphilis outbreak” jive and stick to the facts.