nor do I have anything against good old American Capitalism but this particular letter deserves to be heard. I forwarded a copy to Sharon Mitchell as well and will post her response, provided she provides one…
Dear Mr. South
I am a virologist, I work for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. You and I have spoken on previous occasions, I prefer to remain anonymous for now. I am writing this strictly in layman’s terms so that everyone can understand it.
When you told me that the standard for HIV testing in the adult industry is the Polymerase Chain Reaction test (PCR). I was, to say the least, surprised. This test is not recognized by anyone as a valid HIV screen, nor is it a valid confirmatory test. The only valid screen for HIV is the ELISA and the only confirming test is the Western Blot. So why is it that anyone would choose the less accurate and more expensive PCR test?
That is when it hit me. Lets presume that at any given time there are 500 people working actively in porn. That number seems high to me but for the sake of argument lets say it is true.
You told me that when the people at AIM did the ELISA they were charging around 35 dollars for it. Now in terms of time and materials that particular test costs all of about $5.00 to perform. But lets say it cost them 10.00 they made about 25.00 on each test. Multiply that by the 500 active performers in a given month and that comes out to 12,000.00 per month. Now AIM has to have staff and office space and administrators so 12,000 isnt a lot of money. So maybe they go up on the cost of the test, or maybe not.
The PCR test, cleverly called PCR DNA, is a much more expensive test, but only to the consumer. The Dr. Mullis, who won a nobel prize for his work in PCR, has emphatically stated that the test should not be used as an HIV test. The only valid use for this test is to determine viral load after a person has been verified as HIV positive by the Western Blot. This test usually costs the consumer several hundred dollars, I understand that AIM charges 85.00 for this test. The fact is that this test costs only moderately more to perform in terms of time and materials, generally speaking about 10.00. so lets say AIM pays 20.00 that leaves them with a 65.00 per test profit, multiply this by the 500 active performers and AIM now has an operating budget of 32,500 dollars a month. Now selling the idea of making the PCR the standard test takes on new meaning. Follow the money my friend, and you will find the motive. Every time.
I can hear them saying “But the window for catching exposure is shorter” This is a complete and total falsehood. Nobody knows for sure what the window is for this test or the ELISA. Testing every thirty days is a good idea, over time the continued testing is far more accurate. Simply put you are far better having unprotected sex with someone who has had an ELISA for 6 consecutive months than you are having unprotected sex with someone who “passed” a PCR test yesterday.