brothel 300x200 Weinstein, AHF and Misinformation about Condoms in Nevada BrothelsMichael Weinstein often cites the stellar track record that the brothels have in Nevada in regards to stopping the transmission of HIV since they began mandatory condom use in 1987. Since then there has not been one recorded transmission of HIV in a brothel. However, Mr. Weinstein is being disingenuous with his statement since there is actually no way to actually know that.

In Nevada, customers are NEVER tested for STIs or HIV. Therefore, if clients are not tested there is no actual way of knowing if an HIV transmission has occurred in a brothel in Nevada. That would require testing 100% of the sex workers and clients.

Weinstein is also not telling the voters that a woman with herpes and vaginal warts can legally work in the brothels in Nevada Please see: NevadaDeptHealthMeeting ). The brothels only test for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea. Therefore, there is also no way to know how many cases of herpes and vaginal warts that have been transmitted between sex workers and customers in Nevada’s legal brothels since condoms are not very effective at preventing herpes/warts transmission depending on were on the body the sores are located.

Weinstein is also comparing apples to oranges when comparing adult production to commercial sex work in brothels. In 2006, Rick Reich, Communicable Disease / AIDS Services Supervisor for Nevada’s Clark County Health Department, said;

“[W]e test these people so often, it’s almost like we over-test them. That doesn’t stop the infections from coming into the brothels by the customers.  That’s where the mandatory condom use comes in.”

(Please see: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/02/09/resisting-sex-panic-sex-workers-struggle-evidencebased-regulation-nevada )

Condoms are being used to protect the sex workers from clients not from themselves or each other.

Dr. Randall Todd, Director of the Division of Epidemiology for Washoe County District Health Department in Nevada, echoed the fact that it is the public/husbands/boyfriends that transmitted an STI to a brothel sex worker;

[...]99 percent of the time, a legal prostitute likely got the STD from a husband or boyfriend, through ‘extracurricular’ sex, outside the brothel.”

( Please see: http://prostitution.procon.org/view.source.php?sourceID=000618 )

However, according to Weinstein any porn performer that tests positive for any STIs must have contracted it on set from a co-star. There is little to no proof as to where a performer contracted an STI with any certainty. The transmission could have been on set or it could have come from a husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend as suggested by Dr. Todd in regards to brothel workers.

Further, the adult entertainment industry is not open to the public despite all the claims that Weinstein makes to the possibility of performer’s escorting on the side in addition to shooting scenes. Performers do not need to be protected from the general public on a porn set.

What Weinstein also isn’t telling the voters is that the sex-workers themselves pushed for mandatory condoms in the Nevada’s brothels. Condoms were not forced upon them by the government and special interest. According to a 2009 article authored by Melissa Gira Grant on RHRealityCheck.org;

The one existing Nevada brothel regulation that effectively keeps sex workers safe was pushed for by workers themselves — a statewide mandatory condom policy.  Sex workers had been demanding that condom use be made mandatory across the brothel system in order to make uniform the safety practices they already knew worked best[...]

(Please see: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/02/09/resisting-sex-panic-sex-workers-struggle-evidencebased-regulation-nevada )

It appears that the brothel owners themselves welcomed mandatory condoms since their business had declined by up to 40% after the HIV/AIDs scare in the early to mid-1980s. They wanted to keep a competitive advantage so they agreed to condoms ( Please see: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/02/09/resisting-sex-panic-sex-workers-struggle-evidencebased-regulation-nevada ).

In the adult industry condoms could cause just the opposite, it could kill off all production in California.

Obviously. there are few parallels between the brothels in Nevada and porn production industry in California when it comes to condoms and testing. Weinstein and AHF continue to cite the excellent track record of condom use in brothels when discussing condoms in porn but there is little scientific evidence to back up their position.

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2 Responses to Weinstein, AHF and Misinformation about Condoms in Nevada Brothels

  1. Michael Whiteacre says:

    So, since 1987, there has not been one recorded transmission of HIV to a sex worker in a Nevada brothel, and Michael Weinstein credits condoms.

    I located a Nevada report which breaks down HIV infections from 1983 to 1999 (which includes the era prior to HIV being identified at the supposed “cause” of AIDS, and prior to the invention and use of HIV testing.

    A few facts and statistics:

    A) Nevada brothel workers charge $250-300 at the LOW end.

    B) 73% of HIV-infected men (and women) in non-rural areas nationwide live below the poverty line.

    C) Nevada brothel workers scrutinize their customers’ bodies for needle marks and signs of STIs.

    D) Approximately 1.3 million females (of all ages) resided in Nevada during the years in question.

    E) Between 1983 and 1999, there were 4138 total reported cases of HIV in Nevada.

    E) Of that 4138, only 406 were females over the age of 19 and under the age of 50.

    G) Among females OF ALL AGES who contracted HIV during the 17 year period between 1983 and 1999:

    i) WELL OVER HALF of infections were attributed to being an IDU (Intravenous Drug User) or another non-sexual method of transmission, or via an undetermined method;
    ii) 108 infections were attributed to heterosexual sex with an IDU;
    iii) 31 infections were attributed to sexual sex with a bisexual male;
    iv) 3 infections were attributed to sex w/ a transfusion patient.

    I write “attributed to” because the Department of Health and CDC determine who is an IDU or an MSM (Man who has Sex with Men) by interviewing them. They ask them. In the case of “Intravenous Drug Users”, absent medical evidence such as blood/urine tests, or track marks, members of this group are also determined via interview.

    In sum, HIV in Nevada, as everywhere else, those most at risk for HIV are the poor and the addicted, MSM and IDUs.

    So, in 17 years, there were supposedly 34 cases in all of Nevada where a female (of ANY age) contracted HIV from sex with a male not known to be an IDU. And Michael Weinstein credits condoms for single-handedly preventing HIV transmission in brothels?

  2. Richard Linares says:

    In Nevada’s licensed brothels, by law, prostitutes prior to working MUST be screened for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and HIV. If they are found positive for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, or Syphilis, they cannot begin work until they are adequately treated, followed-up, and test negative on a subsequent test. For HIV, they are barred from working for life. There have been brothel applicants who have tested positive for HIV. Because of their HIV positive status, they were prohibited from working at all.

    Under Nevada law, once a prostitute begins working in the legal brothels, they are tested weekly for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, and monthly for Syphilis and HIV. If they are found positive for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, or Syphilis, they are immediately prohibited from working, and cannot return to work until they are adequately treated, followed-up, and test negative on a subsequent test. For HIV, they would be immediately barred from working for life. To date, no actively working legal brothel prostitute has ever tested HIV positive. However, from time to time, there are cases of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and rarely Syphilis, among active brothel workers. Chlamydia is the most common STD seen, however this is not a surprise, since Chlamydia is the most common STD in the USA overall.

    Nevada law also requires that latex condoms must be used during all sexual activity.

    However, even with the mandatory testing, and mandatory condom use, we cannot guarantee that a person won’t get HIV or other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s). This is for two reasons. First, although condoms used consistently and correctly will significantly reduce the risk of HIV/STD’s, they are not 100% protection. They can sometimes break, slip off, or leak. Also, it’s impossible to test for every STD ahead of time. And STD’s won’t immediately show positive on a test. For example, for diseases like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis, it may take several weeks before the person shows positive on the test. In the case of HIV, it can take as long as 6 months to show positive on the test. So we cannot guarantee that any prostitute will ever be free of HIV/STD’s.

    However we can say that in Nevada’s legal brothels, the risks are MUCH less than going to any other prostitute in the USA. This is because these prostitutes are tested more than any other person for HIV and other STD’s. And they cannot work if they are positive. Also, they must use latex condoms during all sexual actitivies. Illegal prostitutes often don’t use condoms, and they don’t have to get tested for anything. This includes prostitutes working for escort services and massage parlors. Having sex with a legal prostitute can often be safer than having sex with a woman you met in a bar or at a party. This is again because many non-prostitutes don’t use protection and don’t get tested like legal prostitutes do. But they can still have multiple, even numerous, sexual partners

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