A non-profit organization that has been publicly critical of alleged lax health practices in the adult film industry announced Wednesday that it was filing complaints with the state of Florida and the federal government naming a production company alleged to employ an HIV-positive actor who has worked without a condom. The complaints indicate that a Montreal-based production company with offices in Florida was the employer.

“When will it end?” asked Michael Weinstein, president of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, on Wednesday. “This is yet another suspected case of HIV infection in the adult film industry. Given the suspected link…it makes sense to investigate them (the production company) in the hopes of putting an end to further infections.”

The complaints filed by the foundation with the Florida Department of Health and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration call for an investigation into the allegation. They come in the wake of a voluntary moratorium on adult film industry shoots called by the Free Speech Coalition, a group based in Canoga Park, Calif., that serves as a trade association for the pornography industry. The coalition called for the moratorium after rumors surfaced about the actor’s HIV status.

The latest developments cap years of criticisms by former actors and outsiders of the industry over lax condom use. Actor Derrick Burts, who did not respond to a request for an interview, began urging for mandatory condom use in the adult film industry after learning last October that he was HIV-positive.

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Burts has said that a clinic informed him his infection originated from another actor. The discussions over the last several days have also reverberated for advocates of better health for African-Americans, who are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS.

The production company where the allegedly infected actor is employed could not be reached.

Brian Pumper, an African-American adult film actor (who infamously appeared in a porn film with Laurence Fishburne’s teenage daughter Montana) has been accused via social media and among advocacy organizations of being HIV-positive. He did not respond to requests for an interview via email, Facebook or Twitter, but he did send out a tweet on Tuesday that seemed to indicate a denial that he is HIV-positive.

“People are crazy with the Rumors I’m tested Monthly! HIV NEGATIVE …& STD free,” the tweet read.

The fact that the actor is black, however, made the case hit home for health experts who have been working to combat statistics that show AIDS and HIV are prevalent among African-Americans.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African-Americans account for almost half — 46 percent — of people living with a diagnosis of HIV in the 37 states and 5 U.S. territories that have confidential HIV reporting. In 2006, African Americans accounted for 45 percent of new HIV infections in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to the agency.

Michelle Gourdine, author of Reclaiming our Health: A Guide to African American Wellness and a physician at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, applauded Free Speech Coalition for issuing the moratorium.

“In the same way that we ask individuals to be responsible when having sex by knowing their HIV status and wearing condoms, why would we consider it acceptable for the porn industry not to do these same things?” Gourdine asked. “A moratorium is absolutely the right first step for the industry to take. The next step must be to universally require condom use to prevent further spread of a still-deadly disease.”

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The data involving African-Americans and AIDS and HIV are jarring because African-Americans make up only 12 percent of the U.S. population, Gourdine points out. She says that the number one cause of HIV infection among African American men and women is having unprotected sex with a man.

“I believe there are some misconceptions that lead to the belief that condoms aren’t needed,” Gourdine says. “For example, some men think they can determine a woman’s HIV status (or lack thereof) by her appearance and hygiene. ‘She doesn’t look like she has HIV.’ The same is likely true for women visually judging a man’s status. Also, if the woman is using some other form of birth control, condoms are less likely to be used, despite the fact that certain types of birth control, like the pill, do not protect against HIV.”

Regarding the most recent case, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation said Wednesday that the Free Speech Coalition represents the interests of the industry and that Los Angeles County should step in and shut down shooting operations in that part of the country. Representatives for Los Angeles County could not be reached late Wednesday.

The coalition, in a statement on its website, pointed out that it does not have “authorized information” confirming that any performer has tested positive for HIV.

“However, after reports received on Saturday were corroborated by various sources, there was enough serious concern regarding the possible infection for FSC to call a moratorium on production,” the coalition said.