Remembering The HIV Outbreak Of 2004

October 14, 2010 at 5:37 pm (adult, Health, Heather Pink, Los Angeles, personal, Uncategorized)

The newest outbreak just reminds me of how little has changed since the 2004 outbreak, although I think the performers may be treated better now. It’s very upsetting.

I came into the industry in the fall of 2003. Porn was just becoming mainstream. Seymore Butts had a successful cable show. Jenna had achieved rock star status with her book television appearances. Howard Stern had a popular show on E! The porn industry was presented as a harmless, fun career choice where the girls made millions of dollars. People thought the houses that Vivid shoot in are the actual homes of the performers. They thought all the girls had the option of using condoms and picking who they work with. With a friends connection I got in the industry.

Reality set in on my first trip the valley. I was in my mid 20’s, the directors kept telling me I was old. They were insistent that the fans wanted girls that were 18. It didn’t matter how young you looked, they went by your actual age according to your driver’s licence. And if a girl was 18, had frizzy hair and a stomach that hung over their pants that girl was still getting more work than you.

Gangbangs and double-anal were all the rage. There were agents that wouldn’t even take girls unless they did them. Injuries were commonplace and directors were often unsympathetic. I was on a set where the director was telling this HUGE guy to pound into me harder and it was really hurting. The director, who is still respected in the business and working today threatened to cut the scene and not pay me. He said I didn’t belong in the business. Then, he called my agent and said I showed up on drugs. In the real world that’s called slander.

On another set I was on for a popular company the girl who was shooting before me (I think double-anal) was injured. The director and everyone else there was more concerned about the loss of money from the cost of location and kill fees than the well-being of the girl. They seemed angry with her.

Every sentence out of directors, or company owners mouths started with “These stupid fucking girls.” It seemed like the men in the industry hated women and were mostly into each other. I wondered if that was how double-anal was invented.

Also, since it was before 2257, it was also common for companies to shoot girls from other countries for cheap. Durring bookings we were often told, “Wow, your rate is so high. I can get a girl from Czech Republic or Brazil to do a DP for $150.” We were basically called greedy for wanting a rate we could live on.

I left my second trip to LA in March of 2004 thinking that someday soon there would be an outbreak of HIV because of the lawlessness and too much faith in the AIM testing system. And I had a feeling that when it were to happen they would find some girl to blame it on. Sure enough, a few weeks later I saw the headline on the front page of the New York Post that there was an outbreak. And sure enough when girls names came out, they blamed Lara Roxx.

I always compared my career as a performer to smoking. It was something I did that I didn’t try to kid myself into thinking it was healthy. Face it, it’s not on many levels. I always prepared myself for how I would handle it if something were to happen. Most performers don’t even insurance to take care of them if they get sick or injured.

I love Sharon Mitchell and AIM, but testing is not enough. Condoms haven’t hurt Wicked’s sales. Weekly internal exams should also be manditory.¬† This shouldn’t have happened two more times.



  1. Amber Berlin said,

    Heather, this is really poignant and well-done. It’s sad that so much of this is still happening- not to mention the fact that the required basic AIM test doesn’t include herpes tests! Yuck.

    I wish there were an adult performer’s union here, but we all know it would never stick. When girls need money, they’d never do a strike in order to raise conditions. There are always younger and foreign girls who are willing to work under terrible conditions because they don’t know any better and there’s not a whole lot of solidarity!

    Any ideas?

  2. Darrah Ford said,

    Aurora Snow was recently told she was “too old” and only because he heard her age after. He knows who she is and how she’s been around for ten years. So she’s at the least 28-years-old! So I don’t know what he was expecting. Just seemed like he would work with her up until the point he heard how old she was.

  3. drew said,

    I thought a lot of girls just needed rent so they do. Some scenes for bang bros. …….guess they figure. Might as well get paid.

  4. monicafosterathome said,

    This was a really interesting and insightful read. What I think it came down to in your case, is in actuality the same thing that it came down to in mine – neither of us were “controllable” which was why certain insecure men in “power positions” who we encountered were immediately threatened and felt the need to tear us down verbally and/or psychologically.
    More women with common sense and a conscience need to gain power positions in the adult industry for the necessary changes to be implemented – and soon.

  5. J A Wellington said,

    that is not a good story about the industry. is the legitimate film industry any better? other than angelina jolie and a few others, are women treated well by legit Hollywood?

  6. J Anders said,

    Excellent Blog. Got here via the AIM issue. Read the whole blog. Well written, good prose style. Hope you continue, you seem to have something to say. Also, hope your health is better.

  7. Ted said,

    The porn industry worship of 18 year olds is absurd. I’d suspect a large portion on the viewers prefer grown women. Fortunately the trend seems to be towards more and more titles with performers in their 30s and 40s. I understand that calling them MILFs and cougars is insulting, but at least they are getting work.

    So far as requiring condoms, it is a losing proposition. In fact Wicked has stated that condoms do hurt sales, and Vivid which was condom only gave it up. Nobody wants their fantasy spoiled. You don’t see James Bond with a bullet proof vest, and more to the point stuntmen wearing helmets in Hollywood films. Yes there is a risk involved, and all possible *off camera* precautions should be taken in either case. But looking at the number of performers going through the industry (just look at the number of performers listed on vs. the number of performers who have gotten HIV on set over the years, I’d posit that the porn sex is much safer than “real life sex”.

    It is also likely safer than making a Hollywood movie — I can think of four on set deaths right off the top of my head — Brandon Lee in The Crow and during the filming of Twilight Zone, actor Vic Morrow and child extras Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen were killed in an accident involving an out of control helicopter. Who know how many unknown stunt performers have died? How many people have died making porn?

    Were they to mandate condoms, things would actually get less safe: many of the bigger companies would simply move production to Europe where condoms aren’t required. Many out of work performers would turn to less safe types of sex work. Smaller companies will move to states outside of California, where an AIM type organization may not exist, making it likelier that people show up on set with fake tests, etc.

    • heatherpinknyla said,

      I didn’t bring up the rampid drug use in this. A lot of heroin and meth to be exact. My off camera boyfriends were not using low level street drugs.

      Also I didn’t bring up the other diseases that AIM does not test for. Herpes- which is permenent and Hep C- which can KILL you. So no, we were not safer than the general population.

      So the girls will turn to less safe activity like what? Escorting? I knew many escorts in NYC. The escorting clients are usualy well to do educated businessmen with families and too much to lose to risk not using a condom. And the work would be more consistant unlike in porn where girls get shot up.

      A director in porn once told me that the tests only protect the liabilaty of the company if something were to happen. They have sought out people such as 18 year old girls that are nieve enough to buy into the brainwashing.

      • heatherpinknyla said,

        And AIM does have out of state drawstations in most major cities. I’ve tested in many of them myself.

  8. J said,

    Interesting article. The industry could think about the following to reduce incidents of STD’s

    1. All non-condom only scenes with the same male / female partner. Many girls seem to enter the industry with a boyfriend and/or husband.
    2. For multiple partner scene, the outside partner uses a condom. This is no different from what swingers / escorts do.
    3. Use of the HIV Rapid Test kit on set. A result is available within 20 mins.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: