Beginning Tuesday All Performers to Get Shots for Free; Monthly Testing for Syphilis Looms

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from – The porn industry went dark today.

The Free Speech Coalition, the adult video industry’s lobbying group, told LA Weekly that Porn Valley’s major studios were complying with the Adult Production Health & Safety Services’ call for a production moratorium following an apparent syphilis outbreak.

The shutdown could be in effect for two weeks:

Adult Production Health & Safety Services (APHSS), the industry’s STD testing organization, announced today that all performers will be treated for syphilis whether they have it or not:

APHSS’ doctors network has determined that prophylactic [antibiotic] treatment for syphilis for all performers is warranted. The shots have been ordered from the pharmacy and within the next couple of days, will have set up a network of medical professionals to administer the shots. Locations for performers to get the shots will be announced by tomorrow, August 21. Once the performer receives antibiotics, he or she will be available to work within 10 days.

The shots will be free, with costs being covered by such industry production and distribution titans as Manwin, Evil Angel, Girlfriend Films,, Vivid Pictures, and Gamma Entertainment, according to the FSC.

The APHSS says the testing is not a cure-all. It’s only the beginning. And that’s why the wide-scale preventative treatment is being launched starting tomorrow:

It is important to note that this test has a large window period — as much as 90 days — and therefore cannot be relied upon to diagnose an acute (recent) syphilis infection. More importantly, a person with an acute infection can be contagious and still test negative. We cannot rely on these tests alone to determine a performer’s availability to work. This test only provides our doctors a baseline from which to base further testing or treatment options.

Joanne Cochapero, membership director of the Free Speech Coalition, told the Weekly that the testing “will effectively eliminate the concerns for production within 10-14 days.”

She said that, in light of the situation, the industry will likely move from twice-yearly to montlhy testing for syphilis. The industry already mandates monthly testing of performers for HIV.

The APHSS announced over the weekend that at least one performer tested positive for syphilis. L.A. county health officials told the Los Angeles Times, however, that number was more like 5.

The issue festers at a time when the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been pushing for mandatory condoms in porn. It used what it described as an “outbreak” of syphilis in porn to drive its point home during a news conference this morning.

Cochapero notes that porn isn’t the only game in town with a syphilis problem:

With syphilis on the rise in L.A. County, adult performers will then be the ONLY sexually active group in the general population that will be screened regularly for the infection.

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