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Condoms and Porn: What Now?

The debate over rubbers has heated up again with new HIV cases. Let's return to the question that matters most.

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Acworth says that “no system is ever going to be perfect,” but that he believes in Kink’s current policy, which mandates testing for male-female shoots and “a double-blind condom policy whereby models are asked in private whether they want condoms to avoid being pressured by the director not to use them.” When it comes to mandatory condom usage, he says, “I support whatever the majority of models want.” In 2004, Kink surveyed its models and the majority preferred a condom-optional policy. (That owes in part to mistrust of relying on condoms without testing — many believe that for employment discrimination reasons it  has to be either-or — and the painful  “condom rash” that can occur from the kind of dramatically prolonged sex that happens in porn.)

FSC has decided to revise its guidelines to mandate test results every 14 days instead of 28. The  HIV RNA test has an 8-day window in which a person can be infected with HIV and contagious but not test positive, compared to the previous 14-day window with the PCR-DNA test. That means — according my calculations, which factor in a test-processing window of four days, according to Acworth’s estimation — there will be a maximum 26-day window in which performers cannot be sure of their HIV status.

Again, is that good enough? And, perhaps most importantly, who should make that call? Performers, producers, porn consumers, voters, HIV non-profits or state health regulators?

Tracy Clark-Flory is a staff writer at Salon. Follow @tracyclarkflory on Twitter and Facebook.

 
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