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Syphilis brings call for halt to U.S. porn filming


UPI News Service, 08/21/2012 

A U.S. pornography and adult entertainment trade group called for the industry to halt X-rated filming nationwide while performers are tested for syphilis.

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A performer who tested positive for the sexually transmitted disease is meeting with medical professionals from the Free Speech Coalition trade group to begin identifying the partner's sexual partners, coalition spokeswoman Joanne Cachapero said.

There should be a voluntary moratorium "until the risk to performers in the industry has been properly assessed and all performers have been tested," the association said in a statement.

The moratorium call followed a Friday announcement by the Los Angeles County Public Health Department that it was investigating a cluster of possible syphilis cases within the porn industry.

The agency said it received reports of at least five cases involving adult performers within a week.

The number of syphilis cases in California jumped 18 percent from 2010 to 2011, state health officials told the Los Angeles Times.

Syphilis is usually diagnosed through a blood test and can be effectively treated with antibiotics, specifically preferred intramuscular penicillin G, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

A single shot of penicillin can cure a person who has had syphilis for less than a year, the CDC says. Additional doses are necessary for people who have had the STD for a longer period.

If left untreated, the bacterial disease can cause permanent damage to the heart, brain and other organs.

In Los Angeles, officials are trying to map out a strategy for inspecting adult film shoots, part of an ordinance passed by the City Council this year, the Times said.

Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, told the Times the developments show the industry is incapable of policing itself.

It is advocating a countywide measure on the Nov. 6 ballot mandating the use of condoms during professional X-rated shoots.


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