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Porn film moratorium lifted after HIV result proves false positive

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A moratorium on U.S. adult sex film productions was lifted on Friday after just 24 hours when a performer's initial HIV test result proved to be a false positive, according to the industry trade group that called for the suspension.

The moratorium marked at least the third consecutive summer that the porn industry has voluntarily shut down productions under its health-screening system because of performers who tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease.

But the latest episode was by far the shortest, coming to an end a day after it began as re-testing of two blood samples from the performer in question, and testing of other actors with whom the individual had recently worked, came back negative, the group said.

"We always err on the side of caution," said Diane Duke, chief executive of the Los Angeles-based Free Speech Coalition, the porn trade industry group.

Because false positives are relatively rare with the type of screening the group conducts, its policy is to immediately halt shooting even before exposure to the AIDS virus is confirmed, she said.

The coalition last imposed a moratorium in August 2013 after an actress was found to be infected with HIV, and extended the suspension the following month after another performer tested positive. That moratorium lasted about a month in all, Duke said, and was lifted after testing found that the HIV transmissions had occurred off-set.

In August 2012 a moratorium was called after several cases of syphilis among adult film actors were reported. It was lifted a couple of weeks later after the performers had completed a course of antibiotics.

"What it's showing is that the system works," Duke said.

The Free Speech Coalition insists that to date there is no evidence to suggest that HIV has been transmitted between performers while working, as opposed to transmission from off-camera sexual contact.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a group that has pushed for a state law requiring porn actors to wear condoms during sex scenes, says adult film performers are 10 times more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease than the general public.

Voters in Los Angeles County, which had long been the center of the U.S. porn film industry, last year approved a ballot initiative to require porn actors to wear condoms on the set.

Proponents complain the measure has largely gone unenforced, even as a majority of adult film production is believed to have moved out of the county since the measure's passage.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Bill Trott)

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