Two lawsuits have sprung up this week against publications for featuring photos of HIV-negative women next to phrases like "I am positive." Apparently, people don't like to be thought of as HIV-positive when they're not. Avril Nolan, an account coordinator for a PR firm, is suing Getty Images for selling a photo of her for an HIV awareness ad. At the same time, former softcore porn start Danni Ashe is suing the Daily Mail for using a photo of her next to the headline, "Porn Industry shuts down with immediate effect after 'female performer' tests positive for HIV."
Ashe was not the female performer who tested positive for HIV and says she hasn't been in porn since 2004. Nolan says she was "mortified" to have to explain to her family, colleagues, and "potential romantic partners" that she does not have HIV, despite what the awareness ad, featured in amNewYork, implies. The ad was commissioned by the New York Division of Human Rights.
Nolan is seeking $450,000 in damages, while Ashe is seeking $3 million from the Daily Mail. In addition to being upset that the Mail implied she was HIV-positive, she also wants to set the record straight that she never did hardcore porn. Ashe had a webcam business. The Mail has since removed her photo from the article.
In sadder news, there is a very real HIV problem in the porn industry right now — three performers have recently tested positive for HIV, leading to two filming moratoriums in August. Cameron Bay (right), one of the HIV-positive performers, now wants to see mandatory condom usage in porn. She spoke at an AIDS Healthcare Foundation press conference on Wednesday, explaining that "in her last porn shoot before testing positive for HIV, her partner's penis was bleeding — and he wasn't wearing a condom." Bay said that condoms were available at the shoot but not used: “Asking for a condom on set wasn’t really what you did because you could just be replaced.” Other porn stars claimed at the conference that Performer Availability Screening Services, the organization that handles STI screening for the porn industry, is letting things slip through the cracks.
Last November, Los Angeles citizens passed a law mandating condom use in porn, but it hasn't been enforced. At the time, the porn industry campaigned against the law, claiming that porn with condoms doesn't sell as well.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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