How Adult Film Industry Is Handling Monkeypox

Monday August 8, 2022
Originally published on August 6, 2022

How Adult Film Industry Is Handling Monkeypox
  (Source:Getty Images)

On August 5, PASS (Performer Availability Screening Service) partnered with the LA LGBT Center to offer a sex worker-specific vaccine clinic on Friday, August 5th in West Hollywood.

This came after the organization, whose mission is to help standardize and monitor adult industry testing, posted their Monkeypox guidelines for the adult industry on July 29. The group released an initial alert about the virus in May.

It followed the model the industry used for Covid, which was ahead of the curve. "Long before mainstream office workers were uploading their vaccine statuses to company web portals or taking work surveys about recent Covid exposures, the adult film industry had a similar system in place to ensure the health and safety of its workers," reported Rolling Stone.

"While we are not aware of Monkeypox incidents related to adult production, we are a community that has historically taken our health, and public health, very seriously," says Ian O'Brien, Executive Director of PASS. "We have been working directly with stakeholders since we first became aware of the potential threat. The new guidance and clinic will help us prevent the spread, and we ask our entire community to join the fight."

"We're an industry that is very familiar with testing, we're very familiar with health and safety protocols, and we are a community that has extended contact," Mike Stabile, public affairs director of Free Speech Coalition, the industry's trade association, told Rolling Stone. "So I think among the members of our community, this was something that was more urgent to address than it might be perceived in the general population."

While much of the reporting on Monkeypox has suggested sexual transmission between men who have sex with men, Monkeypox is most often transmitted by direct skin contact, and through non-sexual activities such as kissing.

"This is a painful infection that is easily transmissible for those in physical contact with others," says O'Brien. "The best thing you can do is get vaccinated, though we know vaccines are not accessible to everyone yet. In the meantime, to protect yourself and your community, be aware of any potential signs of infection in yourself or others, including unexplained muscle aches, chills, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes that can precede a rash or lesion."

The PASS guidelines were developed in consultation with public health and medical experts. They are:

  • If you develop any sort of suspicious rash, lesions, or bumps, or "feel sick," do not work. Visit your medical provider immediately. ?
  • Reduce physical contact between people as much as possible. 

  • Clean and disinfect surfaces, bedding, and clothing. Utilize gloves and other personal protective equipment when cleaning.

  • Get vaccinated. If you are not in Los Angeles, check with your local public health agency to see if vaccination is available in your area.

    The release adds: "The Monkeypox virus (MPXV) is an orthopox virus that causes painful lesions on the body. As of today, there have been over 17,000 confirmed cases of Monkeypox globally. In addition to a rash, symptoms include fever, unexplained muscle aches, chills, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes. Monkeypox is transmitted via direct contact with lesions, body fluids, and large respiratory droplets from an infected person. The virus can be transmitted from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed, which may take several weeks. Monkeypox can be treated with antivirals that may help reduce symptoms."

    Rolling Stone reports: PASS' suggestions include instituting Monkeypox-specific health screenings before a person can enter a set, involving temperature checks and questions about symptoms including swollen lymph nodes and unexplained bumps or rashes. If someone contracts Monkeypox, PASS has instructions regarding contact tracing and isolation, saying the person should stay home until any rash or lesions completely heal. The guidelines also include instructions for cleaning and sanitizing workspaces and best hand-washing practices."

    But, Stabile (of the Free Speech Coalition) wants to underscore vaccination, telling Rolling Stone: "This is something where we actually have a tool to be able to stop the spread very effectively," he says, adding that a vaccine clinic is opening Friday in L.A. for sex workers; it's one that PASS has been pushing for. "PASS has been active in trying to secure greater access for sex workers and those working in adult film production," he says. "I know that different cities have different protocols and different definitions of who is at risk and who can secure vaccines, but as far as I know, this is the first time that resources are really being specifically deployed for sex workers."