Adult Entertainment Expo 2014

Adult stars taking health matters into their own hands

Adult film actress Chanel Preston, who is concerned that performers don't have enough control over health issues.
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As an industry, adult entertainment is adept at circling the wagons.

Historically, any porn-related health-care crisis has performers, studios, agents and trade organizations reading from the same script: expressing sadness that someone has contracted an illness but quickly following up with a rundown of the industry's safety protocols and a notation that the condition was almost certainly contracted off the set.

Last year was rough for porn in terms of health, though. After four confirmed cases of HIV and three moratoriums that pretty much shut down the industry, both performers and studios say the system might not be as strong as the industry portrays it.

"I've never seen so many positive HIV diagnoses in all of the time I've been in the business," said Scott Taylor, president of the adult film studio New Sensations. "The more bullets you shoot at a target, the more you're likely to hit it. The more this continues to happen, the more I'm concerned this will spread in the industry."

(Read more: The economics of being an independent porn star)

The Free Speech Coalition, the trade group for the adult entertainment industry, counters that last year's revelations prove the effectiveness of its program. Adult stars are tested every two weeks for HIV and a number of other sexually transmitted diseases.

"What we found and know is the four performers who tested positive were infected outside of the industry," said Diane Duke, executive director of the coalition. "We have the most rigorous testing panel you will find anywhere. Our performers test every two weeks. ... Performers, in their private lives, may contract HIV ... but when it happens in our industry, it gets a lot more attention."