Friday, June 19, 2009

Black Health Thought: Porn Star’s HIV Status was a Wake Up Call

Darren James

Stefano Paltera / For The Times

Darren James vividly remembers the 2004 phone call that changed his life. He hopes that by getting his story out, the porn industry will be moved to require condom use to protect the health of its stars.

Porn production shut down for a month after Darren James tested positive in 2004, changing his life. Now he hopes he can protect others by telling his story.

By Rong-Gong Lin II
June 15, 2009

Darren James saw the news flash on his TV screen last week: A porn actress had tested positive for HIV. James, 45, felt a moment of shock, then sadness.
"I feel really bad for this girl," he said. "One thing I can say, I just wish her well. It's the worst thing to get that call."

It's the call James got in 2004 when the well-liked porn star known for his courteous nature on set found himself at the center of an HIV outbreak in the San Fernando Valley's multibillion-dollar porn industry. His diagnosis, and the spread of the virus to three actresses he had worked with, shut down porn production for a month.
He had tested HIV negative just days before performing on screen.
"I predicted it would happen again," he said late last week in an interview at his attorney's Woodland Hills office, his second since his name became public five years ago.

James, dressed in trim black slacks and a fitted black T-shirt that showed off his muscular frame, said he decided to speak out now because he hoped his story would spur the porn industry to require condoms, rarely used in straight porn films.

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