Over the last two months, there have been confusing claims and counterclaims made regarding PASS in social media, the press, and at industry trade shows. The Free Speech Coalition Board of Directors is issuing this statement to clarify and update the industry on its position and its ongoing efforts to ensure the health and safety of all performers.
The Free Speech Coalition Board is particularly concerned by the apparent confusion over whether PASS is planning to allow ‘undetectable’ HIV positive performers to work in the PASS system.
The PASS system does not allow anyone living with HIV to work on a PASS-regulated set, even if that person has an undetectable level of HIV, regardless of whether they are actually able to transmit the virus. This is not changing.
FSC has had discussions about the theoretical potential of a non-PASS testing system that could accept tests by HIV positive performers, as a way to address the disparities in testing faced by some performer communities outside of PASS. However, it was discussed as a separate system, with no overlap with PASS.
As Board Members of the Free Speech Coalition, we take ultimate responsibility for the PASS system and its success in protecting the community of performers it serves.
PASS was created to prevent forged or altered paper or PDF tests, to protect medical privacy, to protect performer identity, and to ultimately enable performers to verify their scene partners’ compliance with industry testing protocols.
The PASS testing system, which tests adult performers for STIs including HIV, has been the industry standard for almost 15 years. While the system has evolved over that time, to incorporate more sensitive tests, and to further close possible avenues of transmission, at no point has it allowed someone with an active and identified STI to work on an adult set. This is not changing.
The Free Speech Coalition Board of Directors fully supports the recent no-cost addition of the antibody test by the two testing centers. While the highly sensitive PCR-RNA test is often able to detect HIV at a level far below transmissibility — or what is termed ‘undetectable’— and while we have no knowledge of any undetectable performers who are working in PASS, we only see the addition of the test as a positive, so long as it costs nothing to performers.
Changes to PASS are not made unilaterally by FSC, but through the PASS Advisory Committee, which will reconvene this spring. Since its first formation, the PASS Advisory Committee has included medical directors of PASS-affiliated testing centers, unaffiliated infectious disease specialists, legal advisors, and an array of industry stakeholders, such as producers, agents and advocates.
Our Executive Director and FSC staff have been diligently working towards a reformation of the PASS Advisory Committee, which is anticipated for April 2019.
We encourage the PASS Advisory Committee, when it meets, to consider formally adding the antibody test to the industry standard testing protocol.
We entrust the PASS Advisory Committee to make decisions regarding the administration of PASS, and the protocols that PASS uses, which are grounded in scientific and medical knowledge, and balanced with the real world effects of those decisions. The committee’s decisions must always be informed by what is best for the health and safety of PASS performer community, and endorsed by the stakeholders.
While we understand the needs of those who can not currently test using the PASS system, by virtue of location or status, any additional or supplemental system can only be created after extensive and transparent discussion with all stakeholders and participants.
It is regrettable that the HIV educational panel led to the impression that one was being introduced, or that unilateral decisions had been made. None of the panelists were speaking for FSC or PASS, which is why our Executive Director and members of the staff offered supplemental context when appropriate.
While the industry conversations have been heated over the past few weeks, the FSC Board of Directors wishes to stress its enormous confidence in its Executive Director Eric Paul Leue and his commitment to the working artists in the adult entertainment system. We are lucky to have him, and look forward to a productive and healthy 2019.
The Board of Directors, Free Speech Coalition