Wow. So many feeling about porn star Cameron Bay testing HIV+. My heart goes out to Bay, who seems to be dealing with this news -on public level- with grace, accuracy, and professionalism. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2401647/Cameron-Bay-porn-star-distraught-contracting-HIV.html
I’m still doing some fact checking, but many articles are linking her last shoot for kink.com’s Public Disgrace as a possible source of contraction. She tested clean on July 27, and shot with them a few days later. As I am writing this I just received an email from the Free Speech Coalition (the organization who who directs the adult talent testing system that we utilize, they have been emailing all performers that are in the system all week with updates about the news). The latest email states that the shooting moratorium has been officially lifted, and that all performers that Bay performed with have again tested clean. There is a very large window where someone can test positive for HIV, it makes it very difficult to pinpoint the source and time of infection.
I see lot of “Save the porn stars!” articles popping up, and people pushing really hard to expand LA county’s condom mandate policy in pornography. After this highly charged incident, the thought of a bunch of people who do not work in porn, making very serious policy decisions for us - makes me very, very uneasy.
I read this article today when I got home from my first day of school. I am getting my masters in Public Health and my studies will focus on sexual health, specifically for sex workers. All day I have been discussing things like harm reduction, health education, public awareness, media advocacy, etc…. Coming home to something so jarring, and seeing how these public health concepts apply, is a very real reminder of why this is so important to me.
These are some of the thoughts swimming through my mind:
-Thank gawd for the performer testing system. This is one piece of protection that surely needs to be critiqued and improved, but never extinguished. If it is detecting things-it’s working. And preventing further harm. Baselines are crucial.
-Everyone who shot with Bay needs to keep getting tested for the next 3-6 months. Not only because of possibly contracting HIV (which is much more difficult, but not impossible, from a female bodied person) but if she did contract it from someone on set, it may not have shown up yet.
-I don’t support a condom mandated porn industry. But I do passionately want MORE sex education for performers. Maybe even MANDATED sex education! That’s a blanket policy I can get behind. Sex is our business. In every shoot we take some form of a health risk. In order for this risk to be consensual, we need to know how to properly evaluate it. We deserve access to the most education concerning STIs and protection. How can we make the best decisions for our bodies and our wallets if we don’t know all the facts? I also believe we shouldn’t have to solely self educate and track that info down. I would love to see larger production companies providing sexual health information to porn performers. HIV is not the only STI to be aware of. We recently had a syphilis scare, Hep C is out there, so is HPV and herpes. Workshops, seminars, pamphlets, online resources, videos, role plays, skits, silly songs- endless educational possibilities. #hireme? #imcertified!
-The public seems to think that as performers we need protecting. Not in a “we really care about you” kind of way, but in a “you are not capable of making your own decisions” way. Sex Educating ourselves helps fights against this stigma and prejudice. The more systematic preventative measures taken in the industry, the better chance we have at continuing to self govern.
-People are very concerned about this being the 3rd case of HIV in porn in the past decade. Porn performers are one of the most frequently tested populations. I am incredibly curious if any other occupation was tested every month for decades, what the HIV stats would look like in comparison.
-I really want to get more involved in the fight for/against the condom mandate in porn. I encourage other people involved to take action so WE are the ones making the safety decisions for our industry. I know there has been performer trips to Sacramento, let’s organize and strategize for the next round! #callme
-Ug. I see this coming up on the CA ballot next November. I can’t wait to see the tasteful commercials :/
-I think Cameron Bay is a babe, and I’m really into her freckles.
Be safe kittens. XO
In complete agreement.