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Porn Industry Says Its Model Could Help Businesses Restart

'We have a whole history of testing within the industry'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2020 4:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – For Hollywood actors to get back to work, they may have to start behaving like porn stars. Advocates say the adult film industry, which introduced a widespread system of testing and contact tracing to protect performers from HIV in the 1990s, has expertise that could help Hollywood and other industries trying to find a safe way to restart. "When we first starting talking about COVID, we felt very well-prepared because we have a whole history of testing within the industry as well as contact tracing and production shut-downs," Mike Stabile, spokesman for the Free Speech Coalition industry group, tells Reuters. "The challenges for sports, for Hollywood, and the porn industry are all different but in reality, we each have things we can learn from each other."

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In the '90s, porn star-turned-physician Sharon Mitchell created the PASS system in which performers are tested every 14 days to be cleared for work. Under the system, a positive HIV test triggers an immediate set shutdown and contact tracing. Ashish Jha, director of Harvard University's Global Health Institute, says a scaled-up COVID-19 testing program along similar lines could be useful not just for the movie industry, but for high-risk workplaces like meat processing plants. "What the adult film industry has produced has worked, and really could be the kind of tool we need," Jha tells Stat News. "People can't get distracted because it's from a business they don't approve of." (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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