We the productions undersigned pledge:
- Having reviewed and discussed available trial results and medical information, we accept that individuals living with HIV who maintain an undetectable viral load cannot pass on the virus to their sexual partners. As such, we encourage people living with HIV with an undetectable viral load to approach us for work as performers without fear of discrimination.
- Performers who are not living with HIV will have the opportunity to agree to work with other performers who are undetectable. This must be consented to before the shoot happens. Different productions handle disclosure in different ways.
For more see: Supplementary Information – Status Disclosure
- Performers that are not living with HIV who wish to only work with other HIV negative partners will have their choice respected. One part of respecting this choice can be handled with sexual health testing, along with performers understanding the ‘Window Periods’ that relate to tests. Different studios approach testing in different ways, models should be made aware which approaches are being used. Example approaches are given in: Supplementary Information – Testing
- We will also make reasonable effort to educate all performers about HIV, including advice on testing and accessing PrEP/PEP and the impact of treatment on preventing transmission.
To agree to this pledge send your production logo to email@example.com along with an email of giving permission to include your logo in future copies of the PPSD pledge, acknowledging it will be made publicly available and within the industry.
Producers who have recently pledged:
The #UequalsU message has been endorsed by the NHS, CDC, NIH, British HIV Association, WHO, UNAIDS, and NAM/aidsmap amongst others. This pledge provides information to help prevent new HIV acquisitions and to better prevent discrimination.
Charities, organisations and media that recently supported the action of those taking the PPSD pledge:
Undetectable = Untransmittable
The aim of treating someone living with HIV is to achieve viral suppression. When the amount of HIV is suppressed too low for tests to measure this is known as Undetectable. People living with HIV who maintain undetectable levels of virus are unable to pass HIV to sexual partners.
A medication for people that don’t have HIV that, if taken correctly as part of a regime before and after exposure, can prevent them acquiring HIV. PrEP is not necessary to prevent HIV transmission if it is suppressed below the level of detection.
A month long course of emergency medication that needs to be started within 72 hours of HIV exposure that can stop HIV transmission. PEP is not required following sex with someone who is undetectable on treatment.
All models should be aware which status disclosure strategy a studio has them assigned to. Performers can always revoke consent to work with an individual scene partner or change which status disclosure strategy they consent to.
Serosorted – Each model shows each other their most recent sexual health test results. In principle performers are separated by HIV status (serostatus), only working with others in of the same status. It has flaws as HIV testing has “Window Periods” where recently acquired HIV cannot be indicated; this means true separation by HIV status is currently impossible no matter how frequent they test. Serosorting is commonly used in straight porn in USA and Europe.
Open Disclosure – Each model shows each other their most recent sexual health test results but models can work with performers of another status as long as preventions are used such as U=U and/or PrEP. Performers using this method are usually completely public about their HIV status; this can be because they accept their HIV status could end up public knowledge eventually when studio staff or scene partners know it. Non-disclosure agreements are hard to make enforceable especially while also protecting the anonymity around a performer’s legal name. Open disclosure happens in all sexualities of porn to differing degrees.
Status Privacy – Apart from HIV results, each model may show each other their most recent sexual health test result. Studios vet that a performer either has a recent HIV- test result or an undetectable viral load result.
This strategy can protect performers who want privacy, or are in a situation where they are unable to work in open disclosure. A performer may choose this for if they want to avoid the following scenario: Two scene partners fall out after a scene and one publicly states the other’s HIV status without permission to. Ignorant public may then send hatemail, or make life difficult for the performer or their family.
Status Privacy means a model knows their scene partner may or may not tell them their HIV status, and they themselves are consenting to work with that scene partner with the knowledge they either hold a recent HIV- result or an undetectable viral load result.
Status Privacy began in gay porn in Europe because of personal medical data privacy laws. Many performers taking PrEP have chosen this approach to support the privacy of those living with HIV. The approach supports the use of HIV prevention techniques such as PrEP and U=U over mandatory status disclosure. Mandatory disclosure can result in harm to people living with HIV via stigma. It also has poor efficiency as most people that catch HIV catch it from someone who didn’t know they had it as new HIV transmissions can be in the Window Period of a recent test.
Studios have different protocols, and different tests are used around the world. Models should be aware of which testing approach a studio has. To learn more about the types of HIV test used see the table named Types of HIV test
Centralised Database – In the USA performers test results can be directly uploaded into large databases, the aim is to avoid tampered results. In Europe medical data privacy laws have stopped these databases development.
Independent Testing – Porn producers have tried owning testing companies, but potential bias and conflicting interest has meant impartial testing was seen to be safer. Some organisations contribute to the cost of a model being tested others do not. Many access testing on national health services where they are available. Some clinics will charge a small fee when a model says they need the test result on a signed certificate for the to use at work. On the certificate there should be an indication that the medical staff saw the performer’s legal photo ID, so studios know the test is for that person.
Studio Testing – This is limited to HIV tests but is usually fingerpick or other rapid testing as it gives instant results and requires little training. However this test means it has a lengthy Window Period where results do not show a recent HIV acquisition.
14-Day Testing or 28-Day Testing – Some studios are requiring performers to test every 14 days and show the 3 most recent tests in order to film. However institutions like the NHS in the UK state this extra testing is little benefit against undiagnosed HIV acquired during the most recent test’s Window Period. The NHS state testing every 28 days works well alongside a focus on prevention tools such as PrEP, U=U, condoms.
No Testing – Some productions have a formal position saying performer’s sexual health is in their own hands. They do not require recent sexual health tests, but this almost only occurs for condom scenes now. The studio should still make an effort to educate performers about condom failures and STIs transmitted via oral sex where condoms are less frequently used.
Window Period – Each HIV test type has a different ‘Window Period’ so it is important to know what HIV test is used and when. With a HIV finger-prick test there is up to a 3-month period following exposure where the test may not identify that you have acquired HIV.
E.g. If you acquired HIV in January, it may not give a positive result on a finger-prick test until April.
To work in porn, performers usually have a certificate signed by a medical professional. The certificate comes from a 4th Generation HIV test and/or PCR test, depending on where in the world you are. Performers should keep “Window Periods” in mind with anyone who presents any HIV- test result and still consider prevention options like condoms and/or PrEP as there is no way to have test results without risks from a window period.