Sexual Health news - Syphilis

Porn industry pauses production due to syphilis outbreak

If not prevented or treated promptly, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, can be easily spread among sexual partners. This is exactly what happened in the Los Angeles porn industry, and why the production of adult films has been shut down for the next few weeks by the LA County Department of Public Health.

Porn performers are at very high risk for STDs

Adult film actors and actresses are ten times more likely to have a STD, compared to individuals who do not act in such movies. Between 2003 and 2007, physicians diagnosed approximately 2,000 chlamydia and 1,000 gonorrhea cases among this community. Some participants have been observed to have multiple infections at once and more than one STD occurrence within a year's time. Health officials are currently looking into an apparent syphilis outbreak.

To fix the damage, the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) is providing screening and treatment for performers.

There are an estimated 19 million STD infections in the U.S every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2010, the rate of syphilis decreased for the first time in 10 years. However, certain at-risk populations, such as men who have sex with men, have seen a dramatic increase in the number of diagnoses.

Condoms may prevent new infections

For the porn industry, health officials are determined to nip transmissions in the bud during the indefinite suspension.

"I always appreciate how our industry comes together in a time of need," Diane Duke, the executive director of the FSC, told the Los Angeles Times. "Clearly our industry's priority is the health and well-being of our performers. Thank you to all of the producers who have and will contribute, and thanks to all of you for honoring the moratorium."

Although the only sure way to prevent the spread of STDs is to abstain from sexual activity, condom use can reduce the number of infections. The contraceptive option provides a barrier that prevents harmful bacteria and viruses from moving among hosts. So far, many organizations, including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the California Medical Association, have called for condoms to be used in the production of every film. 
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