An Interview With The Principle Author Of The Most Recent STD Study

The lesser blogs give you here say Mikesouth.com goes to the source:

Thank You to Cristina Rodriguez-Hart for taking the time to answer some questions for me. Ms Rodriguez-Hart has her Masters Degree in Public Health.

MS: Why did you do this study? Did anyone sponsor it?

Cristina: Dr. Peter Kerndt of the STD Program originally had the idea for this study. I was a grad student and I heard that one of the UCLA centers was giving a small stipend to students who did research projects with UCLA faculty on reproductive health issues so I approached Dr. Kerndt about working on something together related to the AFI. His thought was that they were finding a lot of infection out of AIM through surveillance reports but the testing was only based on urine tests. He suspected that there had to be infection in the rectum and oropharynx due to the nature of adult film work. So we were not funded by some grant like most studies are. I received my stipend from UCLA and the health department paid for the testing.

MS: Critics of this study are already saying that it is rehashed data from a discredited prior study ( I Sent her a link to James Lees statement to that effect that he released today – Thursday) how do you respond to that?

Cristina: I read the article you’re referring to but am somewhat confused. They seem to be talking about my study but also talking about another study done by the STDP. The one they consider discredited was done before I worked with Peter Kerndt. That older study by Goldstein et al. was based on surveillance data looking at morbidity reports from aim, so no primary data collection involved. My study did do primary data collection. The older study involved thousands of morbidity reports, whereas mine involved the 168 performers who consented to testing. The claim made in the statement by James Lee doesn’t make any sense to me. [MS – Makes perfect sense to me, when that bunch can’t rely on the facts they make shit up]

MS: I notice a Dr Robert Rigg on the study If it is who I think it is he runs West Coast Urgent Care….The stories he could tell if he wanted to. West Coast Urgent Care is one of the facilities where porn performers would go if they thought they got an std between aim tests….they’d go there, get treated and keep working with their valid aim test….I’m not sure if there is a question here but if you care to comment please do.

Cristina: Yes it is the Dr. Rigg you’re thinking of. We were concerned that we might have gotten a bunch of performers who already suspected they had a disease. If you look at symptoms in the study, nearly half of the participants didn’t report symptoms, so it doesn’t seem like that was a reason for many of the participants to be at Dr. Rigg’s when they were enrolled in the study. We did look at their charts to see if we could find a reason they came to Dr. Rigg. We found that they came for a number of reasons, including the belief that they were exposed to an STD, had symptoms, wanted their ED meds, staph infections, and a number of others. It’s always possible they had had a test at AIM prior, but I didn’t see any clear indication that this was the case. I would also think that if they already had a test done, why get the testing we were offering at Dr. Rigg’s? They weren’t offered any incentive for participating. I’m also not sure why they wouldn’t have just gotten treated at AIM. As the article in question 2 mentioned, AIM treated performers.

MS:As you know there is a huge battle going on in the biz over the condom initiative Measure B the timing of the release of this looks a bit suspicious to the biz. any comment on that?

Cristina: The timing is part coincidence and part not. It’s been a long process to publish this study. The journal finally had their page proof ready a few weeks ago and I asked them when they would release it. They said they would release the online version in the second week of November. I wasn’t sure which day so I asked them if they could release it before the election and they agreed.

MS: The industry would have people believe that our testing methodologies work properly and that our incidence of STIs are in fact well below that of general population. Nobody has ever offered any evidence to that effect, what would you say if presented with that statement?

Cristina: I’ve heard that claim many times and also seen no evidence. In theory, a group that is routinely tested and treated for STDs should have lower levels of STDs than the general public, who often wouldn’t think of getting tested. I believe that the Goldstein et al. study looking at surveillance data and my study clearly indicate that they have much higher levels of STDs than the public. My study helps us better understand why that is by showing that much of the morbidity among performers is going undetected. Without routine testing at these non-urogenital sites, performers most likely won’t know they have an infection there since oropharyngeal and rectal infections are mostly asymptomatic.

MS: What would the long term implications be for an undiagnosed STI in the throat or anus?

Cristina: I don’t think we know that for STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea. But, one could guess that if they have so much of those, they most likely have HPV. HPV in the throat or rectum can cause cancer. In terms of the bacterial STDs in those locations, the biggest worry I think is that they pass the infection to someone’s genitals, which can cause a number of long-term problems and makes getting HIV easier. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the last performer to be diagnosed with HIV was also found to have an oropharyngeal gonorrhea infection.

MS: The industry would have you believe that condoms would actually increase the rate of STIs in the industry because they irritate the areas they come into contact with over long periods of time that condoms weren’t designed to be used for those lengths of time, then they break and make a person more likely to get an STI. How would you answer that?

Cristina: That idea is pretty out there. Condoms are proven to be effective even when used among groups that have a lot of sex, such as sex workers. The Nevada brothel workers see many customers and use condoms for every sex act, including for oral sex. You don’t hear them complaining. I remember speaking to a female performer once, who also worked at the NV brothels, who said that she preferred the safety of the brothels in terms of getting STDs. She said that she felt like she had to risk her life in the AFI but found it worth it because it pays better. I’ve spoken to other performers who said that when they started performing they wanted to use condoms but quickly found that they couldn’t get work if they insisted on them. Most of the homosexual AFI uses condoms. They’re just as hardcore and you don’t here reports of the condoms breaking.

28 Replies to “An Interview With The Principle Author Of The Most Recent STD Study”

  1. BT

    Wow, Mike. You have a career ahead of you as a journalist. Very well conducted interview. Thoughtful questions and informed answers. I feel smarter …. and when I read the discourse on other sites I click out feeling dumber. Or at least as if I live in a parallel universe. Nice job.

  2. RiccoMarin

    Let me get something straight here? You mean that performers would have a “negative” test at Aim, and then come down with a disease and or symptoms and then go to Dr. Riggs office for treatment and then keep working on a Negative test from AIM? after visting Dr. Riggs office?

  3. MikeSouth

    BT coming from YOU That means a lot man…Thank you truth is I wanted to get this right…If the industry chooses to ignore it It wont be because I spread untruthful info.

  4. MikeSouth

    Sherry all the participants in the study had been current or active performers in the industry during the prior 12 months. They did not study new comers or people outside the industry

  5. richard373

    Usual suspects in porn inudsrty going out there way on lesser blogs sites trying there hardiest discredit this study looking very foolish over matter. Special after fact those argue against seem have not read study. Than offer up opions facts that are not apart study in question. All people stuck on stupid need realize that not helping your cause at all lying to very people you hope well not vote for measure you do not want pass.

  6. BT

    Sherry: If they were at Dr. Rigg’s office for something other than porn-related illnesses that makes the studies point about the incident rate of STDs in porn being high. Here’s what I mean. If you study the incident rate of people with cancer who go to Sloan Kettering, you’ll find that it’s very high because Sloan Kettering treats only cancer. But, if you study the incident rate of cancer among people in a community who go to a particular clinic that treats a wide variety of medical concerns, you’ll get a different look that is more representative of the rate in that population. The test population in this study was porn talent who were going to medical clinic for medical care – not specifically to get treated for STDs. That gives you a pretty good overview of the prevalence of STDs just walking around in the community on a day-to-day basis. They aren’t coming in because of concerns over STDs. Indeed, most of the females showed no symptoms of the STDs they were infected with. They agreed to be tested because they were there.

    You cannot regularly film so much anal, squirting, ass-to-mouth, ass-to-vagina, DPs, double anal, and creampies without passing disease of some sort – no matter how many enemas talent may engage in before a scene. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just kidding themselves.

  7. RiccoMarin

    Well, the weekends here and 3 days to go for the voting on the Measure B….Lets see what Monday a day before will bring.
    Do you think Mark Kernes will answer xxxmed? or will eveything be hushed up?
    Same Bat Channel, Same Bat Time.

  8. BT

    Mark Kernes did respond to the study in a long post on Luke Is Back. If I read it correctly, his response seems to be …..

    The doctor who runs the clinic where the patients were recruited has a questionable reputation within the industry …..

    Only 28% of the participants had one of the STDs tested for in the study …..

    And, there is not indication that those participants had shot a scene in the last 30 days …..

    To which I would say:

    The reputation of the physician whose patients were recruited is irrelevant. The patients either tested positive or they didn’t test positive. Maybe his point is that the physician attracts a certain type of individual to the practice, but in this case, those patients are porn talent. I really don’t get it since its the patients’ test results that count.

    That only 28% had one of the STDs tested for is a pretty astounding number. If I said to you that your dental hygenist may or may not have an infection and doesn’t want to wear gloves, but don’t worry, you only have a 28% chance of contracting an infection and you can probably treat it with antibiotics, most people would be up in arms.

    By asking whether the infected talent had shot a scene in the last 30 days, he seems to be making two points:

    One is whether they contracted the disease on a porn set and the other is whether they’re even active talent. Both are pretty immaterial.

    Where porn talent is infected is besides the point. If they are infected and, regardless of where the infection occurred, if they subsequently have unprotected sex on a porn set, they’re likely to pass it on to porn talent. Does anyone know or care where Mr. Marcus got syphllis? No. What you care about is that he altered a test and continued to work after being infected.

    The other point seems to imply that maybe the talent in question aren’t even performing any more. Hey, I’m just a porn fan. Not an expert. But I read all the time about gals who say they’re hanging up their thongs for good, only to read about their come backs 3 months, 6 months or 6 years later. Talent appears to come and go in this industry all the time.

    If this measure passes, is appealed and makes it to court, the porn community will have a chance to make real arguments and pick apart the study and others. If so, I guarantee you the arguments in court will look nothing like the arguments on the websites. The porn community will argue that its a first amendment issue in court. The proponents of the bill will argue that its a workplace safety issue – employers are required to create a safe working environment and mitigate the risk of injury and disease for their employees – and that its a public health issue. Escorting aside, very few people in the porn industry can honestly say they only have sex with porn talent. People go to work and then go home to their family, friends, loved ones and acquaintances. Anything they contract at work can be passed on to the larger community. Any reasonable steps that can be taken to mitigate that risk will be taken.

    Sweep it all away and the porn industry’s real argument is this: We voluntarily tried condoms in the 80’s and 90’s and our customers don’t like it. We will be economically harmed if you make us wear condoms.

    Whether the industry wins or loses this ballot initiative, my guess is the battle won’t be over.

  9. Nick East

    Whoa!!!! BT!!!! The parallel universe comment!!! I know EXACTLY how you feel! Great article, Mike! Next stop,,, full doctor check-up from head to toe, leaving no stone unturned

  10. jilted

    I was just looking at another site and something very disturbing caught my attention. There is a picture of a guy sitting in front of four female performers, all who had their backs turned, and their lingere covered asses sticking in the guys face. The guy appeart to be enjoying himself.

    Then it dawned on me, This study showed a 28% positive rate, so its very likely that one of those four asses in the guys face has an undiagnosed case of gonnoreah. Think about it. Then think about that ten person orgy scene, and do the math.

  11. dodogoodman

    Pre medicate, do you mean with antibiotics? Eventually those stop working so what do they do then? Another thing, I’ve heard that the male enhancement products they are getting aren’t exactly the freshest or up to date (think expired viagra and caverject that came from Mexico).

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