Third case of HIV detected among adult-movie performers; 'This is not over'

Friday, April 30th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ An adult-movie actress known as Jessica Dee was identified as the third performer to test positive for HIV in an outbreak that has mostly shut down the porn industry.

Dee had sex with five men who were later placed on a voluntary quarantine list, after the first HIV case was announced April 12, said Sharon Mitchell, executive director of the nonprofit Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation, which screens performers for sexually transmitted diseases.

In all, 53 people were listed for quarantine, and dozens of producers in the nation's multibillion-dollar porn industry have halted production until more tests are conducted for the virus that causes AIDS.

``This is not over,'' said Mitchell, who confirmed the actress' stage name in Friday's The New York Times.

The outbreak began after a performer with the stage name Darren James apparently contracted HIV while filming unprotected sex scenes in Brazil. He returned to the United States and apparently infected Lara Roxx during film shoots, Mitchell said.

Los Angeles County health officials and the state's Division of Occupational Health and Safety are investigating.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California claimed Thursday the county Department of Health Services violated the law by obtaining without a subpoena private medical information on performers potentially infected with HIV.

``The government needs to make a showing that the breach of the confidentiality is warranted and the way to do that is by going through the court,'' ACLU attorney Peter Eliasberg said. If people think the government can obtain their private records, it may deter them from getting HIV tests, he said.

County Health Officer Jonathan Fielding said he had not seen the letter and could not comment.

Mitchell said her attorney indicated she had no choice last week when she turned over the records. The records of the two performers who had tested positive at the time were not included because of state privacy requirements, she added.

Mitchell said the health department would use the information to interview the performers and determine whether they may have passed on HIV to people outside the porn business.