The US pornography industry was in crisis today amid fears that an HIV epidemic could have spread among its stars.
Top figures in the business are calling for all adult movie production to cease for two months amid the scare.
The porn business in the US is believed to be worth billions of dollars every year and its stars are frequently monitored for HIV.
For four years not a single porn star gave a positive test, but earlier this month adult entertainer Darren James was found to have HIV.
It is now feared that the San Fernando-based entertainer may be just one of many infected stars.
A dozen women he has appeared with on film recently are currently being tested. They may have been infected, and, in turn, infected other actors.
James has starred in so-called “gonzo porn” for the last six years, in which condoms are not used.
He was screened for HIV every three weeks since 1998, but his latest test came back positive earlier this week.
The Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation (AIM) called for production on adult movies to cease for two months, allowing time for all stars to be tested and the results returned.
The proposal has been seconded by the industry’s trade publication, Adult Video News.
AIM chief, Sharon Mitchell, herself a former porn star, was sceptical as to whether all in the industry would comply.
“It would be nice to have the two months, but we’re dealing with pornography,” she told the Hollywood trade paper Daily Variety.
“We’re in an industry making a living by peddling flesh.”
Financial returns of porn companies are rarely fully disclosed but a two month production shut down would cost an estimated tens of millions of dollars.
Some in the industry fear that the US government – widely seen as being in the middle of a taste and decency crackdown – could use the latest scare as an excuse to further regulate the industry.
“I think this will be the worst we’ve ever had,” said Jim South, owner of porn talent agency World Modelling and a 28-year veteran of the business.
But Jill Kelly, a former porn star who now operates her own production company urged porn stars to stick to the guidelines for a two-month stoppage.
“Anyone who continues to shoot at this point are complete idiots,” she said.