Health

Lessons on Coronavirus Testing From the Adult Film Industry


But because Covid-19 is transmitted by droplets via coughing or even breathing, rather than by sex, he said, “there are a million more exposures from who did you work with on the set to who did you come into contact with before testing positive? Everyone’s happy to comply with testing because no one wants to work on a set where they can get infected.”

If an infection were to occur, the production would shut down. Everyone on the set — those infected and those who tested negative — would be out of work. Most people in the adult film industry are independent contractors; if they’re not working, they’re not getting paid, so the incentive to keep working is high.

Back in 1998, there was an H.I.V. outbreak in the adult film industry. Marc Wallice, an adult film actor, falsified his H.I.V. test certificate and infected a handful of actresses. H.I.V. tests, at the time, were printed out on paper and could be easily forged.

Sharon Mitchell, a former actress with a doctorate in human sexuality and training taking blood samples, formed the Adult Industry Medical health care foundation that year, formalizing the protocols that would eventually become PASS.

“While the acronyms and organizations have changed, and the testing improved, the general principles are the same,” Mr. Stabile said.

The system brought a major shutdown in 2004 and two shorter ones in 2013.

“I only perform on sets where the PASS system is in place,” said Maitland Ward, an adult film star with three Adult Video News Oscars and a former star on the sitcom “Boy Meets World.” “Professional porn follows very strict guidelines on a regular basis,” Ms. Ward said. When production resumes, in addition to the coronavirus testing, “extra precautions will be in place on sets, such as temperature checks and social distancing among crew members,” she said.

“Health screenings are the norm for us. I think the adult industry is far more prepared than mainstream” film sets or other businesses. “This is just one more thing we need to be cautious and vigilant about. Honestly, I think mainstream will be looking to how the adult industry handles this because we are the standard-bearer when it comes to health and safety on sets.”



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