Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Current State of Things

The Current State of Things

This first bit of news comes late, but...

I would like to publicly announce my role as a performer representative, along with Bobbi Starr, Jessica Drake, and Steve Cruz, on the APHSS.org (Adult Production Health and Safety Services) advisory committee .

Taken from the website itself:

"Adult Production Health and Safety Services provides guidelines and services for the adult production industry designed to ensure a safe and healthy work environment of performers and adult film professionals. The program includes:

* A series of nationwide testing sites providing low cost, high-quality testing in a timely manner
* Performers have electronic access to testing results directly from labs
* Variety of medical providers for treatment of performers in need of medical follow-up
* Consistent standards and guidelines for testing and treatment of adult performers
* A secure database that ensures performer privacy and protects producer liability
* Protocol for performer support in the event of a positive HIV test result, including funding for testing of 1st and 2nd generation partners
* Health and safety resources provided for producers
* Health and safety training provided for performers"

You can read more about the advisory committee HERE.

In light of AIM's (Adult Industry Medical) closure earlier this year, APHSS is a welcome and improved replacement. The new database system is now HIPAA compliant, which greatly reduces the likelihood of patient privacy leaks. Additionally, performer-specific training and medical services have been restored.

For those unaware, the adult industry has been operating without an industry clinic for the past several months. An organization called Talent Testing Services has been providing industry-standard STI testing, however many have found it lacking on the basis that it offers no medical advice, service, or treatment.

Since the launch of APHSS.org, I have had the pleasure of visiting one of their approved clinics, called Healing Wave. My first impression is entirely positive.

Unlike my experiences with past facilities (even AIM), Healing Wave appears to treat the testing procedure as a doctor's visit. The paperwork is a bit lengthier, but it covers one's overall health rather than just the nature of an STI status. Further, the nurse and on-staff doctor verbally conduct a brief exam to ensure patient well-being and address any concerns.

The nurse even asked when I had my last physical, to which I answered, "I don't remember." So I was given the option to schedule one. I took advantage of this opportunity and found that I'm in good health.

While this sounds like standard medical clinic stuff, it's been something the adult industry has lacked. In short, I feel like I now have a relationship with a doctor who can specifically address my medical concerns rather than just keep my STI status on file.

Unfortunately, APHSS is having a little bit of trouble catching on, and many performers don't yet know it exists. So hopefully this post will do at least a little bit to help spread the word. Personally, I think it's a great step in reintroducing a standardized testing and database system into the adult industry.

For those who would like to sign up, please visit APHSS.org. There is a $50/year fee for performers, but it appears necessary to get this thing up and running, and help sustain performer safety.

On to the bad news...

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is now gathering signatures in hopes to push a condom mandate for porn on to the 2012 ballot. More can be read about it on ABC News and AVN.com.

If you've not yet heard about the vehement industry opposition towards mandated barrier protection in all pornographic productions, please take a moment to search this blog and any other pro-industry website for a wealth of information. And please understand our issue is not whether condoms are good or bad, but whether the government has a right to enforce their use, and what economic/safety implications such use may have on performers and other adult industry professionals.

From the perspective of an adult performer (myself), I find it highly condescending that AHF president, Michael Weinstein, continues to push this agenda in light of zero industry support. Further, AHF's alignment with anti-porn activist Shelly Lubben and her Pink Cross Foundation further solidifies the anti-porn sentiment behind this attempted legislation.

The courts have already ruled this a "non issue," the Los Angeles County Health Department doesn't want to deal with it, and if you're a sane resident of Los Angeles, or even California, you should really ask yourself whether the taxes you contribute to this nearly bankrupt state should go to enforcing porn stars to wear condoms.

Please don't sign the AHF petitions. And if this measure makes it on the ballot, I urge you to vote against it.

There is no STI epidemic in the porn industry. The fact that APHSS exists means that we care about the health and safety of our performers. If condoms are appropriate for the scene I'm performing in, I'm more than willing to use them. But that's not always the case.

I know there is risk in my work, but it is my choice to participate. If you want to see condoms in porn, vote with your dollar. It'll help us much more than any legislation.

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