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STDs and HIV in Porn by LA Public Health Dept.

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PUBLIC TESTIMONY BY DR. PETER KERNDT, STD Director of Los Angeles Country Department of Public Health at the LOS ANGELES COUNTY COMMISSION ON HIV meeting on October 1, 2008.

The Adult Film Industry has been legal in California since 1988 and not through legislation, but rather through a court action, People versus Freeman, which made it legal. We know it to be a very large industry that grosses as much as $13 billion a year with over 11,000 films produced annually. And, the estimated retail value of this industry to LA County in 2002 was about $3 billion. Los Angeles County really is the heart of this industry.

There is approximately 200 production companies that are known to operate. Five to ten of them are the largest of the producers that make about 40% of the films. There also are five major film distributors here and more than 700 legal custodians of record. Any production company that actually makes film must be registered under federal law and have an individual that maintains all the records, primarily to be sure that no person under age 18 is involved in the production of an adult film.

We estimate there is about 6,000 employed workers, about 1,200 of these are performers. Most, 75% of the performers, are female, a smaller number of regular male performers. And, we know that many people don’t last more than six months to three years, one to fifty films, and then generally move on. So it is a high turnover in the industry.

Why do we care? We know that STDs are extremely common in the general population, but especially in this population, they are often without any symptoms and can only be identified through screening. Some are curable, others, however, are not, they are chronic, life-long with life-long risks of transmission to others. There have serious consequences and some are life-threatening. We also know that having an STD increases the risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV if you are infected two to fivefold. So it is definitely a facilitator of HIV risk in transmission. We also know that most STDs are preventable through barrier protection, through condoms.

Serious consequences include HIV/AIDS, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis, syphilis, Herpes simplex virus (HSV), Hepatitis B and C and Human papillomavirus (HPV).

STDs can be spread through insertive and through oral sex. chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, syphilis, HIV, Hepatitis B are all spread this way. And, of course, then when there is contact with a mucous membrane, particularly ejaculate into the face and mucosal membrane of the eye, transmission with Chlamydia, gonorrhea or herpes is quite possible.

Illness and disease can also be transmitted through what is called fecal oral transmission, through oral and anal sexual contact, through contact with sex toys that have had oral and anal contact. And some of the enteric pathogens we need to be concerned about in this industry are Hepatitis A, Amabiasis, Giardia, Shigella, Salmonella, Cryptosporidium and Campylobacter are all common fecal oral organisms transmitted and would be at risk to persons in this industry.

With gonorrhea, up to 90% of the time an infected partner will transmit to their uninfected partners. Nearly half the time for Chlamydia, 40% of the time for HPV. Less commonly with HSV, however, when they are having an outbreak, it is many times higher. For HIV as high as 20% when an individual is acutely infected. What we know about the occupational risks, we know that less than 20% of the heterosexual Adult Film Industry currently uses condoms for vaginal and anal sex. It is higher in the gay Adult Film Industry, approximately 80% is believed to use condoms for anal sex. We know that there is some HIV/STD testing, more common in the adult side of the industry, adult heterosexual side. We also know that high-risk sexual acts are extremely common, ejaculation into the face, mouth, internal, vaginal and anal ejaculation occurs, unprotected anal sex is very common. Some of the more extreme sexual practices, double vaginal, double anal sex is very frequent As I have mentioned, the STD/HIV risk and enteric pathogen risk occurs with sharing of toys, oral, anal sexual contact and ejaculation into the face.

Porn stars also have a lot to say about STDsand more. They want to talk to you if you're viewing porn. Click here to learn how.

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