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Recently a number of articles have been published about more porn performers becoming HIV positive in the US. Each time it stimulates debate about condoms in porn becoming compulsory in California.

This article on the American blog The Daily Beast makes some interesting reflections. The industry has changed from the old days of a small group of performers who all knew each other and made films in California. Now people willing to travel to work – and get paid much less to work outside of America.

One performer says she is now much less likely to know the others who she works with until she meets them on set. Now we all know that knowing someone does not mean that they are HIV negative, but it does mean a smaller group of less people having sex with each other, and maybe more joint discussions and group loyalty to being safe.

The article also highlights that new technologies mean a wider less regulated labor force.

Means that many more people in lower income countries are performing for people in higher income countries. A point also made in this article recently in The UK Guardian byJill Filipovic.

So are we hearing that a globalization of the porn industry makes a more unsafe porn industry – and one in which compulsory condom use is still a distant dream ?

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Romina and photographer, Mitch Mauricio in between takes.

Romina and photographer, Mitch Mauricio in between takes.

Bali, the “island of the gods”, an indulgent pleasurable place of realization and enlightenment.

To me, Bali will be all that and more. To me, Bali is my place of liberation and re-discovered passion.

Ever since I came back from the International Conference on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP9) held in Bali last August, my head has been bursting with ideas.

During that four day conference, in the company of like-minded individuals, I could think freely and openly question views on sexual health. In the confines of the prudish Catholic culture of my country, I often face censorship – mostly, my own (self-censorship is a fate worse than writer’s block, maybe even death, for some journalists). In order to be taken seriously as a sexual health advocate, I have to choose my words carefully so that the messages of safe sex will not be selectively interpreted as just “sex”. I imagine that it is a dilemma that most sexual health advocates face.

But at the ICAAP in Bali, we were all speaking the same language. We all shared the view that in our different roles – health care practitioner, government official, researcher, and activist, and yes, sex & relationship columnist – we could influence behavior, change perceptions about HIV/AIDS and bring about a positive change.

After Bali, I began to think of more creative ways to push the envelope when it came to communicating the importance safe sex and making it sexy. And that was the inception of a shoot that we called “Dare to Bare” where real everyday people came out and boldly showed their support for World AIDS Day by wearing the red HIV/AIDS ribbon and nothing but that. There were no models or celebrities, only people who were HIV/AIDS or reproductive health advocates and dared to share the details of their experience or encounter with the epidemic.

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iattfolder_coverThe UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT) on HIV and Young People recently published a series of seven guidance briefs on HIV interventions for young people. The idea of the briefs is to provide decision makers with information about how to ameliorate the HIV epidemic, based on the existing body of knowledge relating to young people. Of course, the UN is a large, bureaucratic organization that sometimes seems to be at the opposite end of the spectrum from the youth it claims to be targeting. However, there has also been a clear movement within the international organizations toward a more youth-friendly and, dare I say it, pleasurable approach to health.

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