Adult Film Performers have High Rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections

Released: 23-Jun-2011 10:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins
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Women Are at Especially High Risk, Reports Paper in Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Newswise — Philadelphia, Pa. (June 23, 2011) – Rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea infection among adult film performers in Los Angeles County are "unacceptably high," according to a paper in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

The estimated annual risk was at least 14 percent for chlamydia and five percent for gonorrhea, based on assumptions regarding the number of adult film performers working in Los Angeles County. Risk appeared higher for female performers, who accounted for 72 percent of all reported infections.

Despite Frequent Testing, Infection and Reinfection Rates Are High
After an initial infection, the risk of repeated chlamydia or gonorrhea infection was 26 percent. The reinfection rate was close to one-fourth higher for female performers than for males.

"[I]ndustry standards for protecting adult film performers lag far behind established worker health and safety standards," reports the study by Binh Y. Goldstein, PhD, and colleagues of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. They call for additional occupational safety measures—especially condom use—to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections.

Because they engage in unprotected sex with multiple partners, adult film performers are at high risk for infection and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Adult film production was legalized in California in 1988. There are an estimated 200 adult film production companies in Los Angeles County, employing 2,000 to 3,000 performers.

The researchers analyzed data from laboratories known to provide testing services to performers in the adult film industry. The current industry standard is voluntary testing every 30 days—performers must provide a negative test results within the previous 30 days in order to work.

Dr. Goldstein and colleagues identified all cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia reported 2004 to 2008 to analyze the annual rates of infection and repeated infection among adult film performers. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are common and recurrent among performers.

Call to Increase Occupational Safety in Adult Film Industry
The study fills an important gap in knowledge of the rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the adult film industry. "As high as the reported reinfection rates are…we believe these findings likely underestimate the true rates in the performer population," Dr. Goldstein and colleagues write.

The authors believe that the reported infection rates are "unacceptably high" and that "testing alone is not sufficient for controlling the spread of sexually transmitted diseases within this industry." They add, "Control strategies, including promotion of condom use, are needed to protect workers in this industry, as testing alone will not effectively prevent workplace acquisition and transmission."

Dr. Goldstein and coauthors call for additional state and federal legislation to make adult film production companies more responsible for ensuring the safety and health of performers. They conclude, "[W]orkers need a means to protect themselves from STDs and HIV, which is simply not adequate through testing alone."

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About Sexually Transmitted Diseases journal
Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the official journal of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association, publishes peer-reviewed, original articles on clinical, laboratory, immunologic, epidemiologic, behavioral, public health, and historical topics pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases and related fields. Reports from the CDC and NIH provide up-to-the-minute information. A highly respected editorial board is composed of prominent scientists who are leaders in this rapidly changing field. Included in each issue are studies and developments from around the world.

About Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) is a leading international publisher for healthcare professionals and students with nearly 300 periodicals and 1,500 books in more than 100 disciplines publishing under the LWW brand, as well as content-based sites and online corporate and customer services.

LWW is part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading global provider of information, business intelligence and point-of-care solutions for the healthcare industry. Wolters Kluwer Health is part of Wolters Kluwer, a market-leading global information services company with 2010 annual revenues of €3.6 billion ($4.7 billion).


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