Syphilis Outbreaks In The US and Europe Halt Work For UK Adult Film Performers

The healthcare disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic incubated a slew of other alarming outbreaks — from opioid addiction in the US to the international spread of monkeypox, and now syphilis, the sexually transmitted infection, in the US, UK, and Europe. The situation has left many adult film performers in the UK without work for the time being.

Recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the number of new syphilis infections jumped 26% between 2020 and 2021, with 52,354 cases of primary and secondary syphilis reported in the US in 2021.

The good news is syphilis is easy enough to treat with antibiotics. The bad news though is that unless you regularly get tested, it’s not easy to spot because initial symptoms are usually mild. And when left undetected and untreated, syphilis can lead to devastating consequences like blindness, tumors, and paralysis.

Because the symptoms of the infection aren’t easy to spot, it tends to be easy to spread. And it can be passed on through kissing and vaginal, anal, and oral sex.

Across the pond, reports of outbreaks in the US and Europe have caused adult film performers in the UK to withdraw from work temporarily. It’s not unusual for performers to fly back and forth across the US, Europe, and the UK for shoots, and so it’s likely for the disease to spread across the borders.

UK performers, who are losing significant income from the outbreak, are concerned as rules for testing are more relaxed in the UK compared to Europe. In Europe, performers are tested every week, or every fortnight at the longest. 

In the UK, most adult performers get tested for syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and hepatitis at NHS sexual health clinics only every 28 days. The incubation period for syphilis is 21 days on average, with a range of 10 to 90 days.

Adult film workers are calling to unionize to get access to more public health support and education, more stringent workplace regulation, and better safety practices.

Jason Maskell, an entrepreneur and former talent agent who has been involved in the adult industry for over 20 years, recently spoke to The Independent on the matter.

“This is a live situation being monitored and discussed on a daily basis by those in the industry,” Maskell said. “We need to create a union to offer education and support for all. The adult industry has changed over the years, with more people coming into it, to benefit from the revenue it can create, but we have to keep professional standards up.”

Information for this briefing was found via CDC, The Independent, Time, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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