Hollywood - well let me be more clear - the "entertainment industry" - is pretty much a "way station" in life. A lot of the world's misfits and lost come here to chase their "dream" - the funny thing is that once you manage to survive what you thought was the path to your dream, you begin to realize that what you thought was where should be, is often the absolute last place that you should be once you learn that what looked like diamonds was just crap encrusted in rhinestones.
Now that's not to say that there aren't some legit diamonds in Hollywood, the city of glitz and glamour. I'm just saying that for the most part the entertainment industry (mainstream and adult) is a crate of buckets of crap and glitter with maybe a few diamonds thrown into the top layers of the first buckets you see when you open the crate :)
I've been debating whether or not to blog about this current HIV story that's blanketed the adult entertainment industry for the past week or so, but here's my take:
HIV/AIDS and many other STD's have always been present within the "sex biz". It's just a part of the risk that any performer takes when entering the business.
Now I'm not going to claim to have all the facts, because I don't, but from what I can assess it's been about 5 years since the last "HIV outbreak", and in the current news (check the LA times story here and some well researched blogs on the topic here and here) supposedly there's a bit of a "resurfacing" via a few performers (and supposed non-performers).
Well being that this HIV and other STD element has always been in the back of my mind, now that it's something that has become a bit more "in my face" I've made the decision that since I'm clean and clear of STD's as of current, it's in my best interest to stay this way by continuing in the adult entertainment world via writing, reviewing movies, possibly directing and one day producing rather than performing. I suppose I've felt for sometime that I'm better suited to do other things in life outside of being a "pornstar", but this was the push I needed to, at least for now, close that portion of my life (accept for via my MonicaF.com webcam shows and silly little online talkshows of course).
I feel that this HIV element has reared it's ugly head due to the economy. No, not because physical money has suddenly become laced with STD's, but because as the american society as a whole, cinches their wallets, the people who "run the show" in the adult entertainment world feel the pinch - therefor they shoot less and pay the talent less which in turn, makes the talent a bit more "money hungry" so rather than just shooting for your favorite mid to high budget porn flicks, they start to "shoot" for people's "private" collections of which are often filled with a cast who either doesn't have a current test, hasn't been STD tested at all, or for someone who was just recently with someone who may be infected - knowingly or unknowingly.
I recently had a conversation with someone about this matter who works frequently behind the scenes in this industry, and this individual said "well, most likely anyone who's been infected with HIV works on the FRINGES of the porn industry rather than regularly."
Well this could be true, however the adult entertainment world tends to only have around 2 (maybe 3) degrees of separation. For example, lets say you're a HUGE big budget pornstar and you generally only work with other HUGE big budget pornstars - well great, but guess what - most likely one of those HUGE stars you're working with just recently became as popular as they are. Lets say this NEW HUGE star you're working with also has their own website and being that they can't afford the rates of their new HUGE pornstar friends/co-workers for their website content - perhaps they hire just a MIDRANGE star for a scene for their website who quite possibly may also have an ad on Eros.com - because they do "private shoots" every once in a while.
Now lets say that the "chosen" MIDRANGE pornstar just recently was with a "private shoot client" who generally only hires $200 "providers" through a friend/pimp (none of these providers of which have been tested recently because maybe they are generally just exotic dancers and just work as a "provider" from time to time) but for whatever reason this "private shoot" client got his tax refund so he decided to splurge on the MIDRANGE pornstar who may charge a substantially higher rate.
So now lets say this MIDRANGE pornstar, who's definitely on the rise in porn world and is very appealing as a website content talent to the HUGE pornstar, is double dipping between high end studio shoots and private shoots. She (or he) suddenly is booked for a high end shoot with a HUGE pornstar for the HUGE star's website (without knowing that he or she, the MIDRANGE pornstar, contracted some STD from the "fringe adult industry worker", who's a regular low cost provider for their recent "private shoot" director or talent) and BAM - there you go - it's suddenly a widespread STD outbreak just from a few degrees of seperation.
If all these pornstars - HUGE or MIDRANGE are only about 10 days into their test cycle and are working constantly, by the time they re test and something shows up - a ton of people have been exposed.
I personally don't think AIM can be overly faulted for this current HIV news issue - afterall, AIM is not "Team America - Adult Industry World Police" - they're just an organization who provides adult industry worker services but who's a bit to buddy-buddy with certain adult industry key players. My only real beef with AIM is that I feel the cost of the testing and frequency of the testing needs to be put on the studios head, not the talent's.
Of course much of this STD problem can be prevented via a couple ways. Either more widespread condom use within the adult industry needs to be implemented OR we could go the extreme route and legalize prostitution all across the board.
I honestly feel if prostitution was simply legalized then at least some accountability could be unleashed. I personally feel that all "sex workers" (private or pornstar) should have to be tested once a week via a facility, institution or organization that isn't such good friends with the porn studios (that is IF it's even possible - hell everyone out here in LA seems to be on the take in some way), and I think that all sex workers should be required to keep a log of the names or social security numbers at least of everyone they are with - whether it be client or talent. This system should also be spot checked via random "sex worker audits" - that would at least keep people on the "up and up" and if there was suddenly an HIV case it could be tracked down and quaranteened pretty quick.
Now "uh oh" you may say if you're a guy who's married and who regularly likes to hang with your local hookers. "I want to be anonymous!" you may yell - well too damn bad - if that's the case go overseas. I personally feel that if you're married or in a relationship, but you want to mess around, your partner has the right to know about it. Otherwise why are you bothering being in a relationship?
I think legalizing prostitution would also help to protect a lot of sex workers out there. It would definitely take away a lot of the fear these workers harbor because even though their profession would still be seen as an "odd" job, it would be legally an actual occupation. The workers wouldn't have to fear the police OR their pimps, because essentially the second prostitution is legalized the majority of pimps out there will lose their power. I am personally sick of seeing certain individuals in the porn industry who work behind the scenes enjoy completely unjustifiable and superficial "power" over naive young women who simply don't have the knowledge or the confidence to tell these "pimps" to shove it up their OWN ass.
My latter idea will probably never be implemented - it's just too fucking ideal, so I think studios at this point need to just take on the simpler solution and throw some rubbers into their scenes. If the director is creative enough, it can be made sexy. When I get to the point of directing regularly and can open my studio any porn I shoot will definitely be condom friendly.
So that's just my feeling on the HIV news as of current. I'll tell you, the entire situation has definitely put a temporary halt on www.GettingIntoPorn.com , but again, I'm taking my time with the site because I just want it to be a nice, free resource on things I've noticed in the industry, my personal journey in the industry along with some tips & suggestions for new performers. Oh and a few alerts as well to things and situations to look out for.
This has been a very lengthy blog but something I just wanted to touch on. Camshow time - see ya'll on MonicaF.com