Tasha Reign celebrated her 25th birthday this year, and earned a bachelor’s degree in gender studies from the University of California Los Angeles. She’s a vegetarian and loves Disney movies. Oh, and she’s a porn star.

When I called Reign, she was eager to talk. Her industry has been in the limelight the last few days after a performer was thought to have had sexual contact with an HIV carrier. The Free Speech Coalition, the trade association which represents the adult film industry in the U.S., immediately called for a moratorium on filming, while the risk to other performers was assessed. On Monday night, that moratorium was lifted, after it was determined that no risk was posed to performers (the association couldn’t say more because of medical privacy laws). Today performers can go back to work. But porn experts know what’s coming: more questions about whether their industry is safe enough.

Reign says yes. Every time she performs, she must prove that she has been tested for sexually transmitted infections in the last fifteen days, and that that test was clean. She has been performing for four years and never had a problem. “Sexually, our industry is safer than any other,” she said, noting that when most people have sex, they are relying on trust and communication with their partners… or blind luck. In her job, on the other hand, she has documentation that the person she’s sleeping with isn’t infected.

As an adult film performer, “your business is your health,” she said, emphatically. And that business can be very different from the sex people have in their private homes. Reign sees this as especially obvious in laws like Los Angeles’ Measure B, which required that porn performers in Los Angeles use condoms on set. It was supported by organizations like the AIDS Health Foundation, which held that condoms were a crucial part of HIV prevention. The measure effectively drove all adult film production out of Los Angeles, to areas where such regulations don’t exist. The difference between the condom law and the moratoria, says Reign, is that the performers actually have a say in temporarily stopping filming. “Nobody really freaks out,” she said, when someone tests positive for HIV, partly because the safeguards in place are so strong, and partly because most of the time, the test turns out to be a false positive.

Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals, a sociologist who studies the porn industry, agrees. When she heard about the moratorium, she thought, “This happening yet again? And also, thank goodness. Because… the fact remains that there has not been a transmission on set [of HIV] since 2004. Which means given the hundreds of thousands of porn scenes filmed and the hundreds of thousands of transmissions, that has not happened in ten years.” And that’s thanks to safeguards like preemptively halting filming if there’s any chance of infection.

And as for the risks porn actors take in the line of work, Tibbals and Reign both think that the very question implies a value judgment. “There are risks in every profession, and people think about what they’re risking,” Tibbals said. Reign was more straightforward: she asked me if I would ask a professional football player the same question. And that may come down to the heart of it; pornography is typically viewed as so fringe that performers must justify taking any risks at all to do their jobs.

Reign thinks sexual education in America is so poor that young people turn to porn as their educator, and in turn, America tries to clean porn up. But that’s not the pornographer’s job, Reign says. And this schizophrenic outlook in which pornography is at once the black sheep of society and our teacher has caused an obsession with its rules and regulations, even as America insists it’s not watching.

I asked Reign if the situation was a bit like prohibition — people being uncomfortable with porn, and so trying to make it “go away.”

She laughed.

“Yeah, and it’s always the people who fight it who are the ones watching it,” she said.

The AIDS Health Foundation was unavailable for comment.

This story was originally published on NeonTommy.