News

HIV Scare Not Frightening Erotic Channels

6/13/2004 8:00 PM Eastern

An HIV scare that recently led to the temporary production shutdown of adult movies in the United States didn’t have an impact on cable outlets like Playboy TV and The Erotic Networks, executives from those networks say.

Although the scare — which began after adult film actor Darren James tested positive for HIV in April — affected production, adult TV network executives say the shutdown didn’t hurt them since they had enough new movies stored in their libraries to fill their programming schedules.

“We have over 20,000 movie titles under license right now, and most of the studios we work with had several productions already in post production” before the shutdown in April, says TEN president Ken Boenish. “It didn’t really interrupt the flow of content at all.”

The HIV scare began in April, when the Adult Industry Medical Foundation, which tests about 1,000 adult film actors and actresses for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases monthly, reported that James had tested positive.

Sharon Mitchell, executive director of the foundation, says James likely contracted the virus in March while shooting a movie in Brazil.

According to Mitchell, three other adult film actresses contracted HIV from James before he had tested positive for the virus — Laura Roxx, Jessica Dee and Miss Arroyo. During the three weeks between the porn shoot in Brazil, where James is believed to have contracted the virus, and the time of his next HIV test, James reportedly had sex with 14 actresses, who later had sex with 51 other adult film actors.

Mitchell says the industry’s 60-day self-imposed production shutdown was put in place so all of the adult film actors and actresses that had sex with James or the 14 actresses that had sex with him before he tested positive for HIV could be tested and retested.

Mitchell’s foundation lifted the production moratorium on May 12, about one month earlier than expected, after reporting that most adult actors and actresses that had been placed on a quarantine list had tested negative to HIV from three tests within 45 days.

Mitchell says she doesn’t believe the HIV scare would have an impact on the cable adult networks since all of the networks have a significant amount of content stored in their libraries.

TEN’s Boenish and a Playboy TV spokesman concurred.

“I think it’s going to have a positive long-term impact on the industry,” Boenish says. He says the scare would lead to better testing standards for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

“I think the industry as a whole will be better off in the long run,” Boenish adds.

In Demand LLC director of event programming, Marshall Zelazink, says the production shutdown had no impact on his company, which distributes adult pay-per-view programming under the Hot Choice brand. He also notes that 70% of the adult films In Demand distributes feature simulated sex.

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