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Tuesday
Aug022011

Sexual Health Database Protects Porn Stars' Privacy

Comstock/Thinkstock(CANOGA PARK, Calif) -- The Free Speech Coalition, a trade association for the adult entertainment industry, has launched an online database that lists pornography performers who are sexually-transmitted disease-free and available for work.

The database, called Adult Production Health & Safety Services, is accessible only by producers, performers and their agents. It replaces a database operated by AIM Medical Associates, which was shut down in May after the site was hacked and performers' private medical information was leaked online.

Proponents say the new database will safeguard performers' sexual health as well as their privacy. But critics say it promotes unsafe sex.
"I think the message is going out to people, particularly young people, that the only kind sex that's hot is unsafe," said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles. Weinstein's organization has lobbied for mandatory condom use in adult films despite pushback from performers who favor mandatory routine testing.

But performers say the database, requiring a negative STD test every 30 days for a listing, gives them the information they need to protect themselves.

Some production companies, however, won't hire performers that insist on condoms because consumers won't buy the product. They worry that mandating condom use would drive the industry underground and make it less safe.

For Nina Hartley, a performer of 27 years, and a sex expert with a degree in nursing, condoms make on-set sex uncomfortable and, she argues, more dangerous. But off-set it's a different story.

"I would say it's different in a civilian population," said Hartley. "But public health is not served by forcing a small group of professionals to use condoms instead of being tested."

Hartley has strong words for those who say pornography without condoms promotes unsafe sex.
"It's not the job of adult entertainers to be educating people about safe sex practices," she said, adding that the "ignorance-based abstinence-only model of sexual education" does little to promote safe sex either.

Copyright ABC News Radio

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