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Monday 26 November 2007

UK: Legal (and other) repercussions of recent 'bareback' porn infections

QX Men November 2007, reports:

"In October it was revealed that a British porn actor working for a British studio had unknowingly infected three other performers with HIV. QXMEN has also learned of an even more disturbing case in which an actor aware of his HIV+ status was able to continue working in BB porn and infect at least one other partner... It’s no surprise that the studio and performers involved in the recent seroconversion scandal refused to talk to QXMEN. There’s a very real chance that at least one of these people will be charged with Grievous Bodily Harm. Their studio should also be slapped with an injunction to prevent it from profiting from films that exploit GBH." (page 15)

More detail of the circumstances were reported in this weekend's Boyz magazine, (Issue 848, Thursday 22 November 2007) under this headline:

Bareback model seeks legal action over HIV infection

One of three young men who was infected with HIV during a bareback porn shoot is seeking legal advice to make a claim of negligence against the film’s producers, write Karl Riley and Paul Steinberg.

The film, entitled British Bareback Vacation, was released on DVD last week by Load XXX Films, and is now available for purchase through numerous online adult shopping sites. Craig* told Boyz that he was outraged that the company had released the film, the production of which resulted in three new cases of HIV, as we exclusively reported last month. Since then, the story has been picked up by gay media across the world.

After a difficult few months trying to come to terms with his HIV status, Craig has now begun to explore the options available to prevent such a tragedy occurring again. ‘It makes me feel sick that the DVD is on sale,’ said Craig. He told us that he hoped any potential legal action might prevent other young people from experiencing the same fate.

In an interview with Boyz, Craig, who has learning difficulties, told us: ‘My doctor told me to just concentrate on getting back on my feet first before I started looking into it. I’ve been suicidal and cut [myself]. I felt so dirty. I now feel that I’m 100% committed to stopping other models becoming infected with HIV’.

The background to the case has become clearer since Boyz first reported the story in October. Several weeks after the filming of British Bareback Vacation, many of the same models were involved in the filming of a new production in a field in Kent. That same day, one of the original models from the first film also tested positive for HIV.

After contacting the production company to inform them of this result, the director rushed the other models to take HIV tests at an NHS sexual health clinic on the outskirts of London that evening, where they were also given PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis).

The next day, Craig’s HIV test came back positive. Some members of the cast tested negative. The three boys who tested positive were urged to continue to take the medication. PEP is only believed to be effective if used up to 72 hours after exposure to HIV.

The producers have confirmed that they believe Craig was actually infected on the first film shoot. After his diagnosis with HIV, Craig had accepted support and guidance from the production company, Ikandi, and its director, Adam Bailey. ‘I had no one to turn to other than Ikandi because I felt so ashamed telling my family I was doing porn. I was so frightened about what was going to happen’.

Soon after, and against Ikandi’s advice, Craig told his family and moved away from relying on the company for support. 'I felt they were looking out for themselves. When I was in hospital feeling suicidal, he told me that I had to check myself out straight away’.

Bailey has strongly refuted this claim. He told Boyz: ‘I didn’t know he was suicidal, he was saying how much he hated it in hospital and I knew that his state was always better when he was with us’. Bailey added that he had suggested to Craig that it might not necessarily be wise to rush into telling his family in case their response made the situation worse.

Looking back at his involvement in the summer porn shoot, Craig expressed his regret at becoming involved in the industry on the recommendation of a friend. What started out as a so-called ‘interview’, ended up as a hardcore bareback threesome with the cameras rolling. ‘I should’ve known from the start. It was just meant to be a solo to see how I was in front of the camera, but Adam Bailey said to me, “Do you mind if I throw you in at the deep end and put you into a three-way?” I had tested negative for HIV before but had left the certificate at the hospital. They just took my word for it and we shot the scene. I could’ve put the other models at risk.’

After moving back to his parents house, Craig saw his family doctor who told him to stop taking the PEP medication: ‘She just couldn’t understand why I’d been given it. I was so ill, I had to stop it’.

At this stage, no litigation has been commenced, although a prominent legal firm is currently exploring the possibility. It is also understood that a BBC news team is also investigating the story.

On its website, Load XXX films promotes the DVD with the statement:
‘Pack your bags andjoin these bright young things as they set off on a British Bareback Vacation - where the only protection they will need is factor 50!’

Craig is clear that there was nothing to protect him from HIV.

*This is not the model’s real name.


Al Paige said...

it is beyond me how anyone can be certain that "Craig's" acquisition of HIV occurred during the shoot of a porn film ...


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