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From ignorance to disaster: the truth about the syphilis epidemic in porn

This August will be long remembered as the bleakest of months by the porn industry worldwide, and not only for the ever-dwindling market. Every legitimate production was in fact shut down for two weeks in most of the United States and for one month in Hungary – the home of European porn – due to syphilis outbreaks among professional performers. Stopping all “professional interactions” and getting everyone tested and treated if needed was the only sensible way to stop the epidemic.

While many details are still sketchy, SF Weekly has recently found out at least part of the truth by interviewing Mr. Marcus, an American performer who contributed to spreading the infection by “misjudgingly” faking his tests after being treated for the condition. His candid defense is based on his need to get back to work and the ignorance of a dangerous window of infection in the days following the antibiotic shots required to kill treponema pallidum, the bacterium causing syphilis.

Missing from the picture is however the role of other porn stars who probably imported the disease from European sets earlier on, and even more importantly how the bacterium got on those sets in the first place. It is no secret that the less reputable segments of the porn industry employ occasional performers and less stringent health testing standards, and how many actors and actresses actually work with any available production, even moonlighting as escorts for private – and completely untested – clients.
Summing it up, the epidemics might be under check in the Porn Valley, but is probably raging on at the edges of the “adult videos” world.

One could ask how anyone fucking as a job – or anyone at all – can be so stupid to risk getting a possibly fatal sexually transmitted disease. Mr. Marcus’ answer blamed the lack of any education about STDs among performers, but in her blog porn star Stoya intelligently elaborates on that noting that most information about these conditions actually address only the later, most evident symptoms of illness leading even interested people to underestimate early signs of infection.

In the light of the recent news of untreatable supergonhorrea outbreaks, I humbly suggest you to take a few minutes from your filth-surfing to learn in detail about the realities of venereal diseases and their prevention. After all, you wouldn’t want to be more naive than a porn star, would you?

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