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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 March 2008, 13:58 GMT
HIV scandal in gay porn industry
By Madeleine Holt
Culture Correspondent, BBC Newsnight

Madeleine Holt interviews a model
Many people Newsnight spoke to did not want to be identified

Three films have been withdrawn from sale following a Newsnight investigation into the health risks of so-called bareback gay porn - which shows men have unprotected sex.

It follows concerns within the gay community that performers are being infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Two of the DVDs featured footage from a week-long shoot during which eight British models had sex with each other in multiple combinations without condoms.

Four of those who took part were diagnosed as HIV positive soon after. One of the men told the BBC he was distressed that footage which he believed showed him becoming infected had been put on sale.

After all the gay community has been through why are we putting people at risk for porn
Chi Chi Larue
US gay porn director

In a separate case a British producer, Rufus Ffoulkes, was jailed last week on a child pornography charge for putting a 16-year-old boy in a gay porn film in which he had unprotected sex.

The US company which released the film had refused appeals to stop selling the DVD until it was approached by Newsnight.

Now, Britain's leading bareback film company, Icreme, has told the BBC it has decided to only do films using condoms.

Most heterosexual pornography has never featured condoms. But showing unprotected sex became taboo in gay porn after HIV and Aids emerged in the 1980s.

Ceri Evans
We have been talking about condoms so long that people are bored or think they know it all
Ceri Evans
Sexual Health Adviser

Yet in the last four years there has been an explosion in the production of bareback films. They now make up about 60% of the gay market.

Some health officials believe this is a sign of a wider complacency in society about the risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases which is mirrored in rising statistics for new infections.

Ceri Evans, Senior Sexual Health Adviser at West London Centre for Sexual Health, told Newsnight: "I think that there is a possibility of something being called condom fatigue.

"We have been talking about condoms so long that people are bored or think they know it all. Education in schools is not what it could be, for anybody, for heterosexual but particularly if you are gay."

The rise of bareback porn exasperates many who lived through the 1980s and 1990s.

Rufus FFoulkes
Rufus FFoulkes was jailed for putting a 16-year-old in a porn film

In the US the leading gay porn director Chi Chi Larue has taken a very public stance against bareback films.

"After all the gay community has been through why are we putting people at risk for porn," he says in a new advert aimed at persuading consumers to boycott bareback films.

In Britain the campaign against bareback is being lead by a director called Steven Brewer.

He is inviting both producers and performers to sign up to a new code of practice designed to minimise risk within the gay porn industry.

He told Newsnight: "I just don't want another 18-year-old model crying on my shoulder not sure how to tell his partner or his parents that he is now HIV positive."

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