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Porn Actor Tests Positive for Syphilis

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A porn actor's positive syphilis test has prompted an industry-wide moratorium on adult film production.

The Free Speech Coalition, a porn industry trade group, has asked movie producers to suspend work on X-rated films and videos while actors get tested and treated for the sexually-transmitted bacterial infection.

"I always appreciate how our industry comes together in a time of need," Diane Duke, the group's executive director, said in a statement. "Clearly our industry's priority is the health and well-being of our performers."

Doctors from the coalition's Adult Production Health and Safety Services will test all porn performers for syphilis using the rapid plasma reagin test -- a screening test that spots infection-induced antibodies. They will also administer prophylactic antibiotics to protect uninfected performers from the disease.

"Once the performer receives antibiotics, he or she will be available to work within 10 days," the coalition said in a statement, adding that several porn production companies have offered to cover the cost of syphilis testing and treatment.

The decision on when to lift the production moratorium will be made "as more information is revealed," according to the coalition.

The signs and symptoms of syphilis -- from painless sores on the genitals or mouth to skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes -- can take years to emerge, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And if left untreated, the disease can lead to numbness, paralysis, blindness, dementia, and even death.

While less common than Chlamydia and gonorrhea, syphilis cases are on the rise in California. Between 2010 and 2011, the number of syphilis cases jumped 18 percent, according to data from the state Department of Public Health obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

The syphilis scare comes less than a year after a porn actor's positive HIV test halted adult film production, prompting calls for mandatory condom use in X-rated shoots.

"There really cannot be an argument over the fact that these performers would be far safer if they used condoms," Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, told ABC News at the time.

Subsequent testing revealed the HIV test result was a false positive. Nevertheless, the foundation plans to highlight the syphilis incident on a Nov. 6 ballot measure mandating condom use in L.A. porn production, according to a statement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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