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Porn Industry Shuts Down for HIV Positive Actor

Hemera/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- The porn industry has shut down for the third time this year after a fifth performer reportedly tested positive for HIV.

The Free Speech Coalition, an adult film industry trade group, announced on Dec. 6 its latest moratorium on filming.

"We are taking every precaution while we do research to determine if there's been any threat to the performer pool," Free Speech Coalition CEO Diane Duke said in a statement. "We take the health of our performers very seriously, and felt that it was better to err on the side of caution while we determine whether anyone else may have been exposed."

This comes more than a year after Los Angeles County voters passed a ballot initiative that made using condoms in porn mandatory. But the new rule was never enforced and eventually found to be unconstitutional.

In a "Frequently Asked Questions" blog post about the moratorium on filming, the coalition explained that performers underwent mandatory testing for sexually transmitted infections every two weeks. They prefer this to using condoms.

"Unfortunately, condoms aren't perfect," the blog reads. "They break. In the shoots that can take several hours, they can cause abrasions known as "condom rash," which, paradoxically, can make it easier to transmit an infection if one does break. For this and a host of other reasons, performers generally prefer to rely on the testing system over condoms."

Porn industry leaders have also said condoms were bad for business, leading to a decline in pornography sales.

As in previous HIV outbreaks, the industry is currently testing the performer's on- and off-screen sex partners to make sure that the virus hasn't spread. It expects to have results early this week, according to the Free Speech Coalition.

"The performers' health and safety is the most important thing," Duke said in a statement. Porn star Cameron Bay tested positive for HIV last August, prompting a six-day moratorium on filming.

On Aug. 28, the industry declared all performers who worked with Bay "tested and cleared," but on Sept. 4, Bay's boyfriend, porn actor Rod Daily, announced that he, too, tested positive for HIV.

Bay and Daily have since spoken out about unsafe industry practices.

"Ultimately, it's just a big industry, and their main concern is money," Daily said in a September news conference. "If they do care that much about the performers, they would use condoms."

On Sept. 6, a third actor, whose identity has been kept secret, tested positive for HIV, prompting the second industry shutdown.

The following week, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation -- the nonprofit behind the mandatory condom measure -- announced that a fourth HIV-positive porn actor came to it looking for information. The Free Speech Coalition said this was "a lie" created by the foundation to forward its agenda.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein said at the time that performers were becoming afraid to work without condoms as a result of the outbreak. He said if they insisted on condoms, they'd probably be out of a job.

"We need to stop taking medical advice from pornographers," he told ABC News in September. "The bottom line is that when you're employed, when you go to work and get paid, then employment law applies. You can't dangle 30 stories above the street without a harness."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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