An email from a performer to AHF
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
I have been following the HIV crisis in the porn industry for some time now, mainly due to the fact I was a performer in the adult industry from 2011 to 2012. While I was never directly spoken down to or disrespected, there were many aspects of the adult industry that I experienced to be corrupt in my short time as a performer that caused me to stop filming any scenes in the industry.
Please do not release my name, address or any other personal information as I have a few dear friends who work in the industry and I do not want them to know I am writing this letter. I also have a family that means a lot more to me than being known for speaking on this matter. I would love to come out publicly to aid in your efforts promoting condoms in the industry, but it would not be in my family’s or my best interest to do so. I hope you understand. I want to do my best to help.
I performed in 5 scenes, both prior and after the passing of Measure B.
I performed in scenes where the director admitted they did not pull proper permits to film. This came up because I was to sign new paperwork regarding measure B and my “rights.” I can say right now there are many shoots going on where permits in LA County are not being filed for. I remember a report a few months ago that stated the number of permits in LA County for adult filming dropped drastically. They are still shooting. That is why this is so important to me. The industry thinks it can self regulate but it cannot. They think they are invisible, when they are really being ignorant and reckless with the health and well being of those who are part of the team who put food on their table and money in their wallets. The talent. Half of the people on set are drunk, under the influence of drugs, or are there with ulterior motives. For instance, to receive oral sex on set. Actually, this is one of the deciding factors on whether you get booked again.
The fact the moratorium is going to be lifted makes me sick and uneasy. I’m sure you are familiar with how many times talent can shoot and because of that, the amount of performers who have been exposed is almost unfathomable.
While HIV is a big issue in the industry, now more than ever, this is about health in general. Where is the Hepatitis C testing? I would feel that would be more than necessary, considering the amount of recreational drug users and steroid users present and performing actively in the industry.
HSV, especially HSV-2, the strain causing most cases of genital herpes is not tested for. While contracting HSV is not life threatening, I would feel that this should not just be tested for, but prevented as well. When I stepped into the industry, I was naive. Everything was so new and exciting. If I knew only 2 months later I would contract genital herpes, I would have never signed with my agency. This was the major factor in me making a swift exit from the industry.
When I found out I had genital herpes, I called my agent to ask why it is swept under the rug. It’s still an STI and it doesn’t feel good, to say the least. She had no words to explain it. I was told to get some Valtrex and then: business as usual. What if I infected another person? How could I engage in sexual activity with another person and not tell them? Surely, if I told them on set I would be replaced, word would get around that I was “problematic” and I would never get booked again. I told her I refuse to shoot with another person. I refuse to engage in sexual activity with another person who does not know I have it, and I refuse to engage in this type of unethical behavior. It is wrong and dehumanizing. We are people. We are human beings that deserve respect.
I am more than willing to give you any information about the conditions I have experienced on set, non-compliance with Measure B, and will do my best to provide you with any other information I can.
As I stated before, I am no longer shooting. I have had no personal problems with anyone on set or in the industry, so I really have nothing to gain by lying, so I am willing to give you the whole truth, as I am not scared of losing work. This campaign means a lot to me, and this HIV crisis really hits home as a former performer. I have met many good people and their health means a lot. Some of them rely on the money made from pornography and I would assume would be scared to write you the letter I am. So on behalf of all of those, plus the many others in the industry, I write you for them.
The industry speaks highly of its testing, and that they are the most tested group of people, however, what does testing do? It lets people know when they have been infected with something. It doesn’t stop the spread of disease. It is not correct to put people’s lives in jeopardy; especially in the workplace and that is exactly what is happening. There needs to be no more cutting corners with people’s health and just caring about getting the scene filmed, edited and released. There needs to be prevention. There needs to be prevention of disease and the stop of this unethical, unsafe, and immoral behavior.
September 19, 2013