Many "adult entertainment" studios halted production when the fourth performer in recent months turned up with human immunodeficiency virus. Suddenly a harsh reality intruded on an industry that exists to cater to sexual fantasies.

“How could this happen?” “Aren’t they tested?” These are just some of the thoughts many people had when another porn actor turned up with the incurable and life-threatening virus.

“Condoms!” Many shouted as the answer to make sure that no porn performer would be infected again. As if a magical wave of the condom wand would make sure that no one would turn up with HIV again. All (male) adult actors should use condoms, said advocacy groups like the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Measure B, the Los Angeles County ordinance that was passed by referendum last year, required condoms on set, but it was never enforced and was ultimately found to be unconstitutional. The AHF is continuing its campaign, however, and wants condom use in porn to be mandated across California -- but why?

Right now all the focus is on the adult entertainment industry. Honestly, it’s a pretty easy target. Everyone can watch as people seemingly have unprotected sex with strangers. While the issue is much more involved than that, as international porn star Stoya told International Business Times in a phone interview, the question that really needs to be asked is why the AHF chose to target the porn industry.

Could it be their ultimate goal is to get condom use mandated nationwide, and further, could they want to make it mandatory for everyone who has sex to practice safe sex with a condom? It would certainly be impossible to enforce, but it also seems unlikely they care so deeply about the health of porn actors, in her opinion.

Stoya, whose real name is Jessica Stojadinović, is a 27-year-old porn star whose won an Adult Video News Award in 2009 for best new starlet. She also writes articles for Vice and she’s a pretty avid tweeter. For IBT, Stoya dished on condoms in porn, safer sex and the best way for an adult performer to protect herself in a world where condoms don’t always work, among other things.

The raven-haired beauty said the belief that condoms use equals safe sex is an “oversimplification,” which can be dangerous.

Stoya started off by saying the heterosexual industry operates differently from the homosexual side. Whereas most gay porn studios rely on condoms, the straight industry relies on testing.

“Condom use is great,” Stoya said, “but it doesn’t cover every part of the body so testing would still need to be done.”

“An STI can still be transferred through oral sex,” she added.

As for the AHF singling out the porn industry, Stoya believes, “They want attention. They want to look like they’re the good guys and they know what’s best.”

But when it comes to condom use in her industry, the sex star says it should be up to the performer. She used a tool box as a metaphor to explain that using condoms is just one way for people to protect themselves during sex, but it’s certainly not the only way — especially in porn.

“If somebody wants to make things safer, then we need to sit down with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration,” Stoya said. “We are concerned about HIV and while condoms are a successful way of protecting ourselves, we have issues with condoms breaking.”

The Free Speech Coalition, a trade group for the industry, echoed a similar sentiment when a fourth adult entertainer tested positive in September.

"Unfortunately, condoms aren't perfect," the FSC wrote in a blog post. "They break. In the shoots that can take several hours, they can cause abrasions known as condom rash, which, paradoxically, can make it easier to transmit an infection if one does break. For this and a host of other reasons, performers generally prefer to rely on the testing system over condoms."

Since Stoya said condoms aren’t the surest way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections, she said adult entertainers are now tested more than ever.

“Prior to the past year, every 28 days you have to get a new test. Then some companies started requiring a test every 14 days, which is great. But they can’t require it, so it’s strongly encouraged. There are some people who don’t care either way, but there are people who are vehemently on either side.”

Stoya likes to err on the side of caution: “I think 14 days is better. But there is a window where someone is exposed and hasn’t tested positive.”

“The ‘R’ in safer sex is the most important,” she noted. “There is no such thing as safe sex.”

One of the items Stoya said was in her “safe sex tool box” was word of mouth. “The adult entertainment industry is very gossipy. …. Even if we haven’t actually spent time [in the industry], we have a feel for what they do in their spare time.”

But once performers do actually meet, Stoya refers to what she calls the “the sniff test and the eyeball test.”

“You’re looking at them because that’s one of the ways people have connections by looking at them. Take a look, do they have track marks, a giant sore? Is there anything strange? Does it smell weird? Look and sniff! I truly believe the frequent screening does help with everything except HIV.”

When all else fails, if she still doesn’t feel comfortable Stoya says the best thing to do is to simply say no. “Every person has the right to say, ‘This is what I’m comfortable with and these are my limits.’

“Decide what you’re willing to do and what you’re not willing to do,” she said. “You can say no. That’s a very important thing in general.”

Stoya finished with one important bit of advice:

“The more tools you have and the more tools you use in any situation, the safer you’re going to be. So if you’re going to be as safe as possible, use condoms, get tested and use common sense, and then we’d all be really freaking safe.”  

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