Huffington Post Looks at Syphilis Scare

from – A porn star in the LA adult film industry has been declared syphilis-free after a press release identified him as a potential patient zero in a recent syphilis scare.

Adult performer Clover received an inconclusive test result for syphilis on Saturday and immediately contacted his agent, according to a press release sent to The Huffington Post by the Licensed Adult Talent Agency Trade Association (LATATA). Clover then produced a list of the actors with whom he worked since his last clean test, and the agency reached out to them, LATATA said in its release.

Clover has since taken two separate tests — including one that is more sensitive than a standard syphilis test — that both found he does not have the infection, according to a statement sent to HuffPost Thursday by the Free Speech Coalition (FSC), the industry’s nonprofit trade association that oversees a database of all adult performers’ STD tests.

The scare began Sunday, when porn actor and industry blogger Mike South first reported on the incident.

Before Clover had conclusive results, Michael Weinstein, the president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), said the case reflects a failure to enforce a new LA county condom mandate, which requires that condoms be used on porn shoots. AHF authored the new law.

“The county has not done a single inspection and is defying the will of 1.6 million voters and failing in their public health responsibility,” Weinstein told HuffPost on Wednesday. “As long as the industry resists condoms, thousands of performers will remain at risk. Testing is not prevention.”

FSC, which vehemently campaigned against the condom measure, accused the AHF of jumping to conclusions in order to support its claim that the industry is not safe.

“Unlike AHF, we choose to get our information from medical professionals rather than from the gossip or conjecture of bloggers,” Diane Duke, FSC’s CEO, told HuffPost on Thursday. “Unfortunately, AHF has gone on another witch hunt trying to cause a media frenzy by suggesting an ‘outbreak’ when the performer in question has tested negative.”

The LA County Department of Public Health also determined that there was not a positive syphilis case, based on an investigation that included lab testing, according to a statement it sent to HuffPost.

Clover performs for Reality Kings, a network of adult sites that is owned by production company Manwin. Kate Miller, a spokeswoman for Manwin, told HuffPost that shooting for Reality Kings has not been halted. Clover did not perform in any scenes this week, she said.

A photo of Clover, via his twitter feed: (Story continues below.)

“I thought it was of the utmost importance to act as fast as possible by contacting my agent,” Clover said in the LATATA statement. “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.”

Clover did not respond to a request for comment from HuffPost.

South, the industry actor and blogger, praised how Clover handled the situation in a post on his blog Wednesday (NSFW link).

“I have nothing but praise for Clover. Nobody wants to see any STD in this biz, but it’s going to happen condoms or not and what will define us is how we handle it when it does. Clover handled it with responsibility and professionalism,” South wrote.

Last year, porn star Mr. Marcus, 42, admitted to altering his syphilis-positive test so that he could keep performing. The news prompted the industry to self-impose a 10-day moratorium last August while actors were tested and treated for syphilis. In June of this year, Mr. Marcus was convicted of knowingly exposing two co-stars to syphilis and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

The outbreak last year prompted the FSC to start testing every performer for syphilis at least once a month, Duke told HuffPost.

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