Tuesday, June 2, 2009

BEING MORE RESPONSIBLE

Gentle Readers,

I'd like to take a moment to discuss a practice I think is imperative for this industry to adopt: sero-sorting.

Show of hands… Who here doesn’t know what sero-sorting is?

If you raised your hand, allow me to enlighten you. Sero-sorting is the common-sense practice of choosing sex partners whose HIV status matches yours. Sero-sorting helps prevent the possibility of HIV transmissions taking place. That should be a primary concern to those of us in the BB porn business, where sero-sorting would mean only hiring performers who are already HIV+Positive. Some of you might think that goes without saying. But apparently it doesn't.

Perhaps the harshest and most accurate criticism that people speaking out against bareback porn have levied against the industry is that filming bareback scenes puts performers at risk. There is truth to that allegation. Take for example a situation in the UK where three young men of the "barely legal" set were diagnosed with HIV after performing in a bareback video where all were thought to be HIV-Negative. The fellow who infected his co-workers only tested Positive after the shoot had taken place and he’d infected the other 3 boys. This would not have happened if the producers of the video had adopted a POZ-ONLY hiring policy. As easy and sensible as a POZ-ONLY policy is to implement, there’s no excuse that this should have happened.

There’s more to be concerned with. When this kind of thing occurs, the "victims" tend to claim that they were infected as a direct result of performing in a bareback video. I don't mean to discredit the claims of the performers mentioned above, but in reality that may or may not be 100% true as we don’t know what the infected boys have done in their private sex lives. And therein lies the trouble.

If you hire someone who tests negative for HIV and he becomes positive some time after the porn shoot, you don’t know whether he got infected on set or in his private affairs. That doesn’t mean he won’t go pointing the finger of blame at you. You ‘re the easiest and safest (and perhaps wealthiest) target. And there are some who might throw such an accusation at you just for the sake of being spiteful. This kind of accusation could potentially ruin your business or get you thrown in jail. Or both.

Yeah, yeah, you could have a contract that includes a waiver of liability. But you won't need that waiver or the legal headache that goes with it if you hire only HIV+Positive performers.

If you hire HIV-Negative performers for a bareback video you will always be carrying the unnecessary potential of putting some of them at risk. If instead, you hire only HIV+Positive performers, there will be no risk of anyone acquiring HIV on set, nor causing you trouble over it down the road. You will be doing your part to prevent new infections AND disproving the claims of the anti-bareback-video folks who like to paint us as reckless and careless smut peddlers.

I remember being told that the American Disabilities Act forbids asking job applicants and employees to disclose their HIV status. That rule is in place so that people who are HIV+ will not be discriminated against. I don’t believe the law prevents you from only hiring HIV+ people (also called discriminating in favor of HIV+ persons). In fact I would think the law would be supportive of any effort to stop the spread of HIV in the porn industry, including this kind of reverse discrimination. Keeping HIV-negative men out of the bareback business is one sure-fire way of achieving that goal.

And here’s a tip for EVERYONE in the porn business, gay or straight: You can also dispense with the cost of testing before shooting if you only hire HIV+Positive performers. No risk, less cost… what could be better?

There are plenty of hot looking HIV+Positive men of all ages out there. I strongly suggest that we all adopt a policy of only hiring POZ performers from now on. That is how I intend on conducting my hiring policies. I hope you will do the same from here on in.

Two stories about the UK situation:
http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-7041.html
http://www.gaywired.com/article.cfm?section=93&id=17079

Let me leave you with 2 questions which I'd like you to weigh in on:

1) Are you already excluding HIV-Negative men from your hiring practices?

2) With HIV disclosure a sensitive issue, how would you feel about going on record as a studio that only hires HIV+Positive performers?

Don't be shy. I want to hear what you have to say!

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