An Interview With The Principle Author Of The Most Recent STD Study

The lesser blogs give you here say goes to the source:

Thank You to Cristina Rodriguez-Hart for taking the time to answer some questions for me. Ms Rodriguez-Hart has her Masters Degree in Public Health.

MS: Why did you do this study? Did anyone sponsor it?

Cristina: Dr. Peter Kerndt of the STD Program originally had the idea for this study. I was a grad student and I heard that one of the UCLA centers was giving a small stipend to students who did research projects with UCLA faculty on reproductive health issues so I approached Dr. Kerndt about working on something together related to the AFI. His thought was that they were finding a lot of infection out of AIM through surveillance reports but the testing was only based on urine tests. He suspected that there had to be infection in the rectum and oropharynx due to the nature of adult film work. So we were not funded by some grant like most studies are. I received my stipend from UCLA and the health department paid for the testing.

MS: Critics of this study are already saying that it is rehashed data from a discredited prior study ( I Sent her a link to James Lees statement to that effect that he released today – Thursday) how do you respond to that?

Cristina: I read the article you’re referring to but am somewhat confused. They seem to be talking about my study but also talking about another study done by the STDP. The one they consider discredited was done before I worked with Peter Kerndt. That older study by Goldstein et al. was based on surveillance data looking at morbidity reports from aim, so no primary data collection involved. My study did do primary data collection. The older study involved thousands of morbidity reports, whereas mine involved the 168 performers who consented to testing. The claim made in the statement by James Lee doesn’t make any sense to me. [MS – Makes perfect sense to me, when that bunch can’t rely on the facts they make shit up]

MS: I notice a Dr Robert Rigg on the study If it is who I think it is he runs West Coast Urgent Care….The stories he could tell if he wanted to. West Coast Urgent Care is one of the facilities where porn performers would go if they thought they got an std between aim tests….they’d go there, get treated and keep working with their valid aim test….I’m not sure if there is a question here but if you care to comment please do.

Cristina: Yes it is the Dr. Rigg you’re thinking of. We were concerned that we might have gotten a bunch of performers who already suspected they had a disease. If you look at symptoms in the study, nearly half of the participants didn’t report symptoms, so it doesn’t seem like that was a reason for many of the participants to be at Dr. Rigg’s when they were enrolled in the study. We did look at their charts to see if we could find a reason they came to Dr. Rigg. We found that they came for a number of reasons, including the belief that they were exposed to an STD, had symptoms, wanted their ED meds, staph infections, and a number of others. It’s always possible they had had a test at AIM prior, but I didn’t see any clear indication that this was the case. I would also think that if they already had a test done, why get the testing we were offering at Dr. Rigg’s? They weren’t offered any incentive for participating. I’m also not sure why they wouldn’t have just gotten treated at AIM. As the article in question 2 mentioned, AIM treated performers.

MS:As you know there is a huge battle going on in the biz over the condom initiative Measure B the timing of the release of this looks a bit suspicious to the biz. any comment on that?

Cristina: The timing is part coincidence and part not. It’s been a long process to publish this study. The journal finally had their page proof ready a few weeks ago and I asked them when they would release it. They said they would release the online version in the second week of November. I wasn’t sure which day so I asked them if they could release it before the election and they agreed.

MS: The industry would have people believe that our testing methodologies work properly and that our incidence of STIs are in fact well below that of general population. Nobody has ever offered any evidence to that effect, what would you say if presented with that statement?

Cristina: I’ve heard that claim many times and also seen no evidence. In theory, a group that is routinely tested and treated for STDs should have lower levels of STDs than the general public, who often wouldn’t think of getting tested. I believe that the Goldstein et al. study looking at surveillance data and my study clearly indicate that they have much higher levels of STDs than the public. My study helps us better understand why that is by showing that much of the morbidity among performers is going undetected. Without routine testing at these non-urogenital sites, performers most likely won’t know they have an infection there since oropharyngeal and rectal infections are mostly asymptomatic.

MS: What would the long term implications be for an undiagnosed STI in the throat or anus?

Cristina: I don’t think we know that for STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea. But, one could guess that if they have so much of those, they most likely have HPV. HPV in the throat or rectum can cause cancer. In terms of the bacterial STDs in those locations, the biggest worry I think is that they pass the infection to someone’s genitals, which can cause a number of long-term problems and makes getting HIV easier. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the last performer to be diagnosed with HIV was also found to have an oropharyngeal gonorrhea infection.

MS: The industry would have you believe that condoms would actually increase the rate of STIs in the industry because they irritate the areas they come into contact with over long periods of time that condoms weren’t designed to be used for those lengths of time, then they break and make a person more likely to get an STI. How would you answer that?

Cristina: That idea is pretty out there. Condoms are proven to be effective even when used among groups that have a lot of sex, such as sex workers. The Nevada brothel workers see many customers and use condoms for every sex act, including for oral sex. You don’t hear them complaining. I remember speaking to a female performer once, who also worked at the NV brothels, who said that she preferred the safety of the brothels in terms of getting STDs. She said that she felt like she had to risk her life in the AFI but found it worth it because it pays better. I’ve spoken to other performers who said that when they started performing they wanted to use condoms but quickly found that they couldn’t get work if they insisted on them. Most of the homosexual AFI uses condoms. They’re just as hardcore and you don’t here reports of the condoms breaking.

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