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US porn makers slam HIV claims, vow to end moratorium

File picture shows an adult video store in New York
File picture shows an adult video store in New York. US porn filmmakers who have suspended production after a number of actors reportedly tested HIV-positive Tuesday accused critics of "political posturing" and making unfounded claims.

US porn filmmakers who have suspended production after a number of actors reportedly tested HIV-positive accused critics of "political posturing" and making unfounded claims.

Diane Duke, head of the Free Speech Coalition, a trade association for the adult entertainment industry, cast doubt on reports a fourth actor had tested positive for the virus behind AIDS.

She lashed out at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which has spearheaded a campaign to make condom use obligatory on porn film shoots, and has in the past represented actors who tested positive.

"There is no evidence of a fourth case," Duke told AFP, referring to reports over the weekend after a new US-wide moratorium was declared last Friday, following a week-long suspension in August.

"This announcement seems to be political posturing by AHF. Last month they announced a syphilis outbreak in the adult film industry when in reality not one performer had syphilis," she added.

The industry first suspended filming last month after an actress called Cameron Bay tested HIV-positive. A second performer linked to Bay, Rod Daily, announced on Twitter he too had tested positive.

The suspension was lifted after a week, but it was reinstated Friday when a third case was reported to the Free Speech Coalition by an industry-affiliated doctor, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"The moratorium is still in place and is nationwide," said Duke, adding that the group's medical advisory council was discussing what steps were required to lift the suspension.

AHF boss Michael Weinstein was quoted by the newspaper as saying of the fourth case: "We were approached by a male performer who told us he had tested positive," but giving no further details.

An AHF spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Duke said AHF was wrong and its activism in the adult film industry was misguided: "There is much good to be done in prevention and treatment of HIV. And there are a number of good HIV organizations who accomplish amazing things.

"Unfortunately the millions AHF has squandered trying to regulate an industry that has not had an on set transmission of HIV in over nine years is forever wasted," she said.

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