I am cranky. I have been cranky for over a week. It’s been a lousy month at work for me, and just when I think it’s really crappy, it gets worse. Then, to top it all off, the only light of my life in the crack whore, junkie haven neighborhood that my office is in, leaves. No, not my buddies Thomas R. or Carol Q., I’m talking about Raging Stallion Studios, the gay porn company (formerly) around the corner from the GV offices. It used to be that trudging to work, avoiding stepping on needles walking through SF’s SOMA district, I’d occasionally get to see shirtless, hot gay male porn studs loading equipment in or out of vans. Ahhh, it was an oasis of carefree, heavily-hung boy-nymphs, in a sea of (often literal) shit, blood and puke. I work in a really, really bad neighborhood, and now the muscle-bunnies that added cheer to my life have departed to surely better pastures, ten blocks away.

Also, I am now an official living member of the "banned books" authors’ club, according to my publisher, Cleis Press. Apparently the concessions made between the right-to-lifers/decency groups and the library system is that only one book now need remain behind the counter — my fellatio book. This is very troubling, considering that free access to accurate sex information about basic sex acts — and fellatio is as basic as it gets — is difficult for folks with no money, the exact people at the highest risk for STD’s and viruses like HIV/AIDS. The good news is that both oral sex books are being translated into French — double entendres, anyone?

HIV is on my mind, of course, because of the outbreak that just hit the hetero porn industry based in LA — halting production in many (but not all) studios until June. Though I am not surprised, not at all. They do have access to the best testing you can get, the PCR-DNA test administered by AIM Healthcare, and a neat system for monitoring performers, testing them every 30 days. But despite the system, performers and directors are still not aware/educated, are ignorant, or just plain don’t care about risk assessment and transmission. It’s also possible that they don’t take risking peoples’ lives seriously, or have self-destructive tendencies. Regardless, if the porn I see is any indication, performers and whoever is in charge of making decisions around sex acts take risks that consistently undermine the use of (any) condoms on camera. Many also regularly make offensive and dangerously wrongheaded statements about HIV being a "gay" disease, whereas the gay porn industry simply practices *thoughtful* safer sex precautions, assuming that *everyone* is a carrier and acting accordingly (except for the shunned-but-fetishized barebacking fetish videos).

It’s not just porn performers and directors who are unaware/ignorant of HIV transmission; it’s practically the whole world. Which, by the way, the World Health Organization (2003 stats) puts HIV infection at 40+ million, with over 5 million new infections yearly. And with (currently) 26-28 million of those in Africa, and over 90% of those cases hetero transmission, you’ve got not only an epidemic, but a hetero — not a gay — plague. In the US, hetero transmission is the #3 way to become infected.

To me, that means that porn is a high-risk job, even if you’re one of the lucky ones that get tested regularly for working with the bigger studios — and you’re not a desperate performer with a pimp fucking with your head, or you live in Prague or Brazil (plenty of porn is shot in these inexpensive, no-condom, no testing locales), or you’re just too young or uneducated or addicted or depressed to know or care. Not everyone has the privilege to make informed decisions about risk. But in a job where you risk your life every day just to make a buck ($1600 for the non-condom double-anal that gave Lauren Roxx HIV), you at least should have the right to know the details on those risks. Of course, AIM does their utmost to educate new performers about physical and emotional risks, but there are vocal people in the adult industry who oppose this education, worried that AIM will frighten off the "new talent." (AVN, August 2003.) It’s making me really embarrassed for the whole human race that people willingly make others do things that might — nay, *will* — kill them to fatten their pockets, from certain pornographers to certain American presidents.

And yes, wearing a condom and then pulling it off to shoot come all over a girl’s pussy, ass, in her nose, or eyes, completely undermines the use of the condom altogether — for *many* infections and viruses, in addition to HIV. Get it? "Any percutaneous or permucoasl exposure to blood or bodily fluids…" That’s broken skin, open wounds, cuts and mucosal membranes — mouth, eyes, vagina, anus. (Source: WHO) Granted, the possibility of oral transmission of HIV is very low *in ideal conditions.* Lesson: don’t learn sex from porn. Check the safer sex chart.

So I’m cranky. I’ve lost many friends to HIV/AIDS over the years, and I just wish the world, governments, religions, and stupid "family" organizations didn’t stigmatize non-reproductive sex education. Also, I loaded OSX on my laptop and fucked it up — and last Friday I got pushed out of the SRL panel lineup by an egomaniac dude who never works at the shop but brags that he does, while I was stuck selling videos, having men and women ask me all night if my "boyfriend is in SRL", with a gash on my arm (now a scar) from working all day that day to build and haul robots to the venue for the show. But at least there are these cute pictures of me that day working on the big bots wearing one of the guys’ "Dum Bitch" hats.



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