AIDS EPIDEMIC SCARE IN PORN INDUSTRY SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE

Published on: April 21, 2004

The multibillion-dollar porn industry is downplaying the AIDS scare that's forced a production shutdown -- but experts say the potential epidemic comes as absolutely no surprise.

While the X-rated movie business boasts of its regular HIV testing and of treating its performers as "family," critics charge that the frequently unprotected sex is a recipe for disaster.

"Medically, it's not surprising at all that the HIV virus has found its way into California's large pornography industry," declared Dr. Charles Hicks, an AIDS specialist at Duke University Medical Center.

SPREAD OF AIDS

"The AIDS virus spreads through unprotected sexual intercourse and other types of sexual contact -- and this is exactly what the pornography business promotes in order to produce its films and videos."

And Rev. Ed Vitagliano of the American Family Association, a family values group in Tupelo, Miss., told The ENQUIRER: "The porn industry has been a ticking time bomb waiting to explode with AIDS."

The pornography business was rocked in mid-April when two of its stars tested positive for the HIV virus -- and it was estimated they could have spread the virus to more than 60 others. Some companies are expected to halt production for two months to administer tests.

But X-rated producer Jill Kelly told The ENQUIRER: "It's safer to have sex with someone in the adult film industry because everyone is tested on a regular basis.

"I know this may sound strange, but everyone who works here in the porn industry is like family!"

But one frightened porn star, who asked to remain anonymous, said flatly, "Some performers may be willing to play Russian roulette with their lives but not me!"

And as far as producers watching out for performers, she added, "We're expendable ... a dime a dozen."

Will the porn industry cut its risks by enforcing safe-sex practices?

That would turn off too many customers, veteran porn actor Ron Jeremy told The ENQUIRER. "It's a difficult time right now," he said, "but the adult entertainment industry will keep on going."

Dr. Victor Cline, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Utah, an expert on the impact of pornography on individuals, told The ENQUIRER: "It was a disaster waiting to happen, but I hope in the long run some good can come out of this.

"Perhaps the publicity will get the attention of the millions of Americans who have been far too complacent about the spread of AIDS." -- REGINALD FITZ, MICHAEL GLYNN and RICK EGUSQUIZA