February 25, 1964 |
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Darren James (born February 25, 1964) is an American former pornographic actor who made worldwide headlines after testing positive for HIV. James tested positive on April 13, 2004. He is the first veteran actor to be infected since Tony Montana in 1999.
In an attempt to prevent a possible outbreak, an urgent search was initiated for potentially infected performers. The search and subsequent testing were conducted by the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, where James had received his diagnosis. It was concluded that James had possibly been infected while engaging in unprotected anal sex with Brazilian actress Bianca Biaggi during a scene for the video Split That Booty 2 in Rio de Janeiro.
Shock waves spread throughout the adult entertainment industry when it was discovered that three actresses who had worked with James shortly after his return to the United States had also become infected. These were Canadian newcomer Lara Roxx, Miss Arroyo and Czech-born Jessica Dee. Roxx had only entered the adult industry two months before contracting the virus. On learning about the HIV outbreak, she has said, "It totally made me realize how I trusted this system that wasn't to be trusted at all, because it obviously doesn't work," and "I thought porn people were the cleanest people in the world."
Judy Star appeared in several movies where Roxx was also in the cast, and was known to have performed a sex scene with a female actress who had performed a scene with James. Star, however, tested negative for HIV. The ensuing fears of HIV infection (as well as the public scandal and criticism of the industry that followed the outbreak) caused a temporary shutdown of production of adult movies in Southern California.
According to James, his diagnosis and the public disclosure thereof — which was how his family learned of his pornographic career — left him so distraught that he attempted suicide. After his recovery, he sued the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation for publicly disclosing his condition. The lawsuit was settled out of court, with terms remaining confidential. James went on to find employment as a security guard. In 2005, the porn industry shutdown was the subject of the first episode of The Dark Side of Porn, a British documentary series produced for Channel 4.
Darren James has remained very vocal about the incident and about adult filmmakers continuing their habits "as usual". He is a staunch advocate of mandatory use of condoms on porn sets to protect performers from HIV. Canadian documentary filmmaker Mia Donovan made a 2011 documentary film Inside Lara Roxx, a result of following her life for 5 years with candid interviews and documentation, in addition to showing footage from Darren James in the documentary.
- Nick Madigan (2004-05-10). "Voice of Health in a Pornographic World". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-26. "
Sharon Mitchell — Well-behaved women rarely make history"
- AVN :: Test Results Pending for Two Performers
- Gene Ross (2007-05-27). [http://www.adultfyi.com/read.php?ID=22883 In Brazil the use of condoms is mandatory in penetration scenes, so actually they were breaking the law. "Lara Roxx Timeline Begs Questions: Darren James got it from Lara Roxx, not the other way around?"]. Adult FYI.
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- Nick Madigan (2004-04-17). "H.I.V. Cases Shut Down Pornography Film Industry". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-20.
- Lin II, Rong-Gong. (2009, June 15). "Porn star recalls nightmare of testing HIV positive", Los Angeles Times
- The Dark Side of Porn Channel4.com
- Rong-Gong Lin II (12 October 2010). "Former porn star Darren James speaks out about latest HIV case". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
- Christine Estima (8 May 2012). "Hot Docs interview: Mia Donovan, director of Inside Lara Roxx". TheGATE.ca. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
- Brian McKechnie (5 May 2012). "Interview: Filmmaker Mia Donovan looks at what’s ‘Inside Lara Roxx’". Crticize This, Canada. Retrieved 21 May 2012.