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APHSS, the Adult-Industry STD and HIV Testing Service

Article by our Senior V.P
August 31, 2011

APHSS, the new std and hiv testing service for adult film performers, aphss test results for porn
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APHSS is the acronym for the Adult Production Health & Safety Services organization, a new online service administered by the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) to provide adult performers (porn stars & aspiring porn stars), porn producers & porn talent agents with access to STD & STI testing facilities and the performers’ subsequent APHSS test results (among other services) via their website, APHSS.org.

AIM, the adult film (porn) industry’s former “primary testing center” (primary not by legal or union mandate, but more by word-of-mouth & general acceptance of AIM’s test results around the industry) was shut-down & (according to news reports) filed for bankruptcy in May 2011 after many years of business and providing HIV-test results to the porn industry.

APHSS was recently created (APHSS.org, their domain, shows a WHOIS creation date of November 18, 2010 and AVN and AINEWS, both adult industry publications, reported APHSS’ official launch on August 1, 2011) to “fill the gap left by the closure of the AIM clinic and to carry on health and safety protocols for adult productions,” according to AVN.

APHSS.org seems – at first blush – to be a decent idea to the Author, a seasoned talent manager of new porn starlets for nearly half a decade, although the “gap” left by the closure of the AIM clinic seems to have already been “filled” quite nicely by some other adult-industry HIV & STD testing centers that ALSO have secure online databases of HIV and STD test results, nationwide HIV and STD testing sites, and electronic access to HIV and STD testing results, namely Talent Testing Service (TTS), among others. In other words, all of the features & benefits to be provided by APHSS and APHSS.org are ALREADY provided by the existing testing centers that have already “bridged the gap” supposedly left by the closure of AIM – which was literally shut down via an official governmental cease-and-desist order served by the County of Los Angeles for a number of reasons.

All legitimate producers of professional pornography in the United States require clean and recent HIV & STD test results to be presented by each and every performer (male and female alike) at the time of production. If any performer fails to produce his or her valid & verifiable test results, then the producer will not allow that performer to perform (sexually), and definitely will not allow that performer to shoot condomless.

Legitimate adult industry testing centers use PCR or NAT testing to test for the HIV virus, which is more reliable (and therefore perhaps more expensive) than the ELISA testing that “regular” or “civilian” (non-adult-industry) clinics use to test their patients. From my non-medical-background understanding, PCR or NAT testing tests for the HIV Virus itself… ELISA (regular doctor) testing, on the other hand, tests for the body’s antibodies (reacting) against the HIV Virus, and therefore this “civilian” testing method cannot generally detect very recent infections. PCR or NAT testing can. Due to the extensive STD/HIV testing requirements in place within the legitimate U.S. porn industry - being an adult performer (in addition to being a talent manager) - it is the Author’s opinion that it’s safer to sleep with 7 random PCR or NAT-tested (and cleared as being clean) porn stars bareback (condomless) in a week than to sleep with 1 random untested civilian bareback in the same week.

One catchy thing about APHSS is that they have, or plan to have, a “variety of medical providers for treatment of performers in need of medical follow-up” – according to APHSS.org. This may be a good thing, in the event a performer’s APHSS test results indicate the need for medical attention. However, the medical provider(s) in their network seem to be more of a third-party “affiliate” nature, as opposed to an actual in-house physician. Other adult-industry testing centers, however, also provide referrals to “good” doctors in the performer’s local area, so this also is not necessarily a novel concept or new idea that APHSS has developed – albeit this doesn’t necessarily make it a bad one.

APHSS seems to possibly be a good thing for our industry (competition can be a good thing, and monopolies can be a bad thing), but the Author’s hope is that APHSS does not tread the same slippery slope as AIM did. (As mentioned in our article about AIM, we feel that – although the individual employees & office staff were very helpful & friendly – AIM, especially within their upper management, became inappropriately-biased and "cliquish" with certain large talent agencies, their trade organization(s) and other privately-owned companies.)

In the Author’s opinion, it is unhealthy (wrong) for a porn-industry STD & HIV-testing center to become overly-involved in much beyond the collection, testing, reporting & verification of performers’ STD & HIV test results (and the handling & security thereof – which is yet another area in which AIM is rumored to have royally failed). A referral to a good doctor, in the event of an adult performer’s infection or disease, may (or may not) be a good & appropriate thing for the testing center to take responsibility for - depending on the doctors’ training, certifications, licenses & experience in the area, and also depending on the nature of the business relationship between the testing center & the doctor.

Where is the distinct line to be drawn between an STD & HIV testing center/service/foundation/clinic for adult film performers, and something MUCH MORE… …something INAPPROPRIATELY more than that?

When non-employee adult performers are permitted to waltz around the front & back offices of a testing facility, (including behind the reception desk) where other performers’ private medical records & other sensitive personal information is scattered about… that’s inappropriate. (And I’ve seen it with my own eyes at the Sherman Oaks AIM clinic.) After AIM was shut-down, I saw that same porn star seated in the lobby of TTS, which is where patients/performers belong while waiting for their turn to be tested in any professional medical facility.

When a registered talent management Company CHOOSES to advise & counsel their brand-new-to-the-industry talent to pay $130 a month, every single month – perpetually, to ANY third-party organization (whether the organization is supposedly “non-profit” or not)… that third-party organization has absolutely ZERO business posting a flyer in their lobby advising talent to “go with one of these (other) talent representation companies…”.
Whether or not AIM was paid-off by these companies, and whether they elected to list my Company on their “elite talent company” list… or not… any “preferred” talent representation company list in the lobby of an STD-testing center is completely outside the scope of an STD testing center’s responsibilities, and is, in fact, unprofessional.

I’m all for the legitimate adult film industry (my industry) "sticking together", but I believe it’s unhealthy to blur the lines between a trade organization and an adult performer STD/HIV testing center. Already - not one whole month from its inception, according to APHSS.org, APHSS has one monthly membership price for producers that are members of a certain trade organization (the FSC) – and another ($100 per month higher) monthly fee for outsiders. A trade association is essentially a club (in high-school, they're called "cliques"), and a club does have a right to charge membership fees… but now non-member producers are going to be charged an extra $1,200 a year for access to performer’s medical records (excuse me... I meant "only information needed to verify performers’ availability, which is updated when you are tested at an APHSS.org participating testing facility"... of course not the performer's "medical records") if they're not part of the club? I don’t like the sound of that.

Why go in to so much detail about this in an article about the new APHSS, which is barely a month old? Because I don’t want to see a reincarnation of AIM... that’s why. APHSS.org already affirms the existence of “The APHSS Advisory Committee [which] will be comprised of appointed members, including five [porn] performers, two [porn] producers, a legal consultant, and a medical consultant, that will work with an APHSS coordinator to oversee and set policy for the APHSS program. The Committee will work closely with talent agency organization LATATA, as well as members from the groups they represent, in order to provide insight and feedback on the concerns of APHSS users and other industry members.”

Five porn stars responsible, in part, for “OVERSEEING” and “SETTING POLICY” for a new HIV & STD medical-testing organization that’s going to be communicating the private medical test results of tens or hundreds of thousands of other porn stars to private companies…? That doesn’t sound quite right! And who are these chosen few elite c**k-suckers…? (I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, honestly… but that’s exactly what’s meant here by “five [porn industry] performers” on the “APHSS Advisory Committee”.) Are these performers’ seats on this royal advisory committee going to be around or UNDER the conference table? OK, OK… I’ll stop.

“Two [smut] producers” – taken to mean either one representative each, from 2 elite production companies or 2 elite pornographers – helping to “oversee and set policy” for an establishment responsible for the handling of medical test results…? Who is going to do the “appointing” of this MEDICAL-facility's Advisory Committee… Larry Flynt?

Is this a new talent-testing service, or is it a trade organization in sheep’s clothing, attempting to ultimately unionize our industry for their own benefit?

One of the things I appreciate about Talent Testing Service is that their business name reflects EXACTLY what they do… they are a talent - testing - service, and that’s it! They are NOT a trade association. They are NOT owned or operated by a trade association. They are NOT interested in gossip & drama & policy-making within the adult industry. Why? Because although they SERVICE the adult industry, they are not IN the adult industry… they are IN the blood & pee-testing industry. They are very clear about their “place” in our industry.

Also, APHSS is going to be “working closely with talent agency organization LATATA”. That’s the same adult talent agency trade association that (according to their website) raised nearly $25,000 for AIM (the now-defunct testing facility) before they were shut down by the County, and (lo and behold) the SAME adult talent agency trade association whose members “magically” appeared on the preferred agency list on the wall in AIM’s lobby.

Two of the eight adult talent agencies currently listed as members of this trade association (which began approximately less than 2 years ago) are now defunct as well – they’re no longer in business. That’s 25%, one quarter, of LATATA’s membership (according to their site, and not including AIM, their pet project) out of business – less than 2 years after the organization was formed. Another two of the industry’s largest (roster-wise) agencies are apparently not even members of this trade association.

So, as a brand-new STD testing center for porn stars that was started by one trade association (FSC), what business does APHSS have in publicly aligning themselves with this other trade association (LATATA), especially since the industry has already replaced AIM with TTS on its own, without the help of any special club? What's really going on?

If APHSS is truly sincere about helping the industry – as a whole – then why are they going to charge producers/agents/performers a fee for access to their test result database (not "medical record database", but rather "information needed to verify performers’ availability", according to APHSS.org), the same as AIM did? Talent Testing Service doesn’t do this; TTS generates their revenue by collecting testing-fees (which are less than AIM’s were & less than APHSS'), collected from talent at the time of their monthly test. The testing fees obviously provide enough revenue to pay for TTS’ office space, their employees’ payrolls, next-day test result turn-around, above-board testing procedures, IT costs (including test result database maintenance), etc.

Since APHSS appears to simply be a completely-online service (unlike TTS, which has their own brick-and-mortar testing facilities) birthed from a pre-existing trade association, what is the reason for these additional charges upon hard-working porn-industry workers like me?

APHSS & the FSC have never disrespected or caused harm to myself or my Company. So long as they do not intend to head in the same direction as AIM did, they have my blessing, and I sincerely hope that their new STD testing service does very well – so long as their own business interests, and those of their allies, do not come into conflict with my own.

My hat is off to Karen Tynan, APHSS’ legal advisor, who reportedly recently sent a strong letter to the Los Angeles City Attorney to rebut a Cal/OSHA letter sent to the same on the topic of enforcing mandatory condom use through film permit requirements for porn productions. APHSS & the FSC are right on the money, on this one. My questions & concerns here are just that: questions that came to my mind when reading and learning about the APHSS, and concerns that came along with those questions.

As a non-FSC, non-APHSS & non-LATATA member of the business-end of the skin biz (adult film industry) here in Porn Valley, Los Angeles, I’m simply recommending to my fellow talent representatives, producers & talent that they ask these questions for themselves before choosing “their” STD & HIV testing clinic.

Mike is not a medical professional, nor is he qualified to provide medical advice.

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