Yesterday, I read an interview with Paul Morris, who owns the gay porn production studio Treasure Island Media (TIM). TIM shoot primarily bareback – condomless – sex. Here is a snippet from the interview, conducted with and posted at Let’s Talk About Sex.
“Most recently, I’ve been motivated to produce pornography to directly address the appalling phenomenon of the HIV “closet”. It’s a tremendously dangerous and damaging result of the continuing fear and superstition that’s promoted by AIDS healthcare organizations and big pharma. Meds are now sufficiently sophisticated and reliable and side-effect free to make AIDS a virtual non-issue in the developed world. The battleground now should be that of forcing big pharma - particularly companies like Gilead - to give up their patents on the meds and make them universally affordable in both the developed and the developing world. This would be a serious struggle since it would (nominally) reduce their obscene profits.
HIV continues to be stigmatized in the US, often by middle-aged gay men who are habituated to living in a world of fear and tragedy and refuse to believe that the crisis is truly over. These are the men who begin every letter or comment with “I watched my entire generation die in the 80s...” To a great extent, the current gay mindset surrounding HIV is a result of a generation of men living with PTSD and not getting the support and help they need now that the war is over.”
His pornography involves consenting adults and is none of my business. What irks me are his comments. For example:
‘Meds are now sufficiently sophisticated and reliable and side-effect free to make AIDS a virtual non-issue in the developed world.’
Side-effect free? I beg to differ. HIV meds are certainly not as toxic, but they are far from being side-effect free. He then goes on to state that the ‘battleground’ should now involve forcing ‘big pharma’ to give up patents on the meds, thus making them universally affordable. I agree with his point that it would be nice if big pharma gave up their patents on HIV meds... but access to medication is only one issue.
What about all the other issues? Late diagnosis. for example? Stigma anyone? The statement that AIDS is a virtual non-issue in the developed world makes me cringe. I’d like for him to pay a visit to the hospital ward I was placed in during 2009...
Morris may think he is producing porn to ‘address the appalling phenomenon of the HIV closet’, motivated to reduce ‘fear promoted by AIDS Service organisations and big pharma’, but I very much doubt that is how any of his viewers perceive it. Instead of slating AIDS Service Organizationss, Paul Morris might want to learn something from them about the effort they put into reducing fear and stigma.
“As a pornographer, all I can do in response is to produce work that features men who are openly positive (or negative) and happily living their lives honestly and fully.”
Sorry, but what a load of rubbish. The motivation here is money, pure and simple.