The San Fernando Valley-based porn industry is heaving a sigh of relief after it was announced that the actor who tested HIV positive last month had not infected anyone else.
The Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM)Foundation, a clinic for porn industry workers, said that its officials had completed testing of the patient's sex partners, "from both personal and professional life," and that all tested HIV-negative "on two occasions, using multiple testing methods."
"It has been established that Patient Zeta acquired the virus through private, personal activity and there was no transmission of the HIV virus from Patient Zeta to anyone else," according to the announcement.
At least four major film producers suspended filming while tests were carried out on all the known partners of the actor. Now that he is said to be on the clear, the producers are coming out of their shell.
Vivid Entertainment, one of the world's biggest producers of porn films, said it was satisfied after exhaustive tests were carried out on all partners of the actor at the centre of the scare.
"We made the decision to halt production as the health and well-being of our performers is of utmost importance to us," said Vivid's founder and co-charman Steven Hirsch, announcing the resumption of filming from Monday.
He also praised the role of the clinic which alerted the industry to the HIV positive test. "We believe that AIM acted professionally and thoroughly and proved that their system works," said Hirsch.
"We will, of course, continue to require recent test results for all performers in our movies and will continue to take all necessary precautions to assure their health and safety."
However, Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, Los Angeles County's public health director, said that AIM officials had not provided his office with the test results or protocols and that without that information, it was impossible to determine how Patient Zeta contracted the disease and whether all of those exposed had been tested.
"If in fact they have used the right tests and done everything they say they have done, it's good news for the people who were contacts, but it doesn't reduce the risks," he said. "To have somebody work in a situation where they are forced to do things that put others at risk for life-threatening diseases is very disturbing."
AIM officials have drawn criticism from AIDS activists and state officials who say the clinic has failed to promptly report HIV and other sexually transmitted maladies. In 2004, a male porn star, Darren James, contracted HIV and spread the virus to three female performers before it was detected. The outbreak shut down porn production for a month. Last year, a female performer who rarely worked tested HIV-positive, but no other cases were detected among performers.
In recent weeks, state workplace safety officials have been considering whether to mandate condom use and additional testing for porn performers, wrote Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Los Angeles Times.