We meet HIV+ Adult Film Star
Header Picture Credit: Lucas Entertainment.
We live in a time where ever-advancing technological sophistication breeds a certain culture - a culture where information is readily accessible at any place, any time, to mostly everyone.
However, when it comes to certain subject matters (some of which many of us still deem as sordid), such as the adult entertainment industry or information/awareness surrounding HIV, it seems as though many of us are still disinclined to educating ourselves, sometimes to the great detriment of ourselves and others.
We recently caught up with HIV-positive adult film star James Castle to talk about his life, the industry, his HIV status, and his next steps after he retires in the coming years.
How did you first get into the gay adult entertainment industry?
I used to work in NHS finance. I was working my way up, as everybody else was doing, as you were told to do in school. After a while, I realised that I was in God’s waiting room. People were there waiting to retire. These people spend their days wishing away 5/7ths of their week, and that’s just not what life is about for me. I need to work towards my own happiness, never at the detriment of anybody else. So, I thought, ‘What do I want to do?’
I wanted to set up a business, but I knew that I wasn’t ready to do that yet, so it was a case of what to do in the interim. So, yeah, I got into porn! Completely outside of my comfort zone; I’m not even someone who hooks up, bizarrely. It was so not me and I didn’t think I’d be welcomed so well into the industry (because I didn’t think I fit what was the ‘mould’), but I have very much been welcomed. I originally signed with Krisen Bjorn before signing a contract with Lucas Ent., but this will be my last year in the industry.
What are your post-industry plans?
I’m opening my own business. The best way to describe it would be a ‘lifestyle consultancy’, aimed particularly at men who are successful in business but not so successful in life. It will be life coaching, personal styling, training, nutritional advice, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBP), which I’ve recently done a qualification in.
Are you a top or a bottom?
In work, I’m 100% versatile. One of best assets in bed is that I can create a connection when there really shouldn’t be a connection there. In my personal life, I’ve went from more bottom when I was younger (because I was dating older guys) to realising that my topping had a lot to do with sexual confidence.
Before porn, I wouldn’t have had the sexual confidence to top an older guy. It just seemed weird to me. It’s really given me that confidence and this year I’ve realised that I’m actually more top.
How does your HIV positive status affect your personal/professional life?
I was reckless in love; I wasn’t reckless in sex. I was 21, he was 31. It was a love-at-first-sight thing. He told me we didn’t need to use condoms anymore and that he’d been tested. Once we’d split up, he told me this wasn’t true. It was an extremely volatile relationship.
Afterwards, every time I was in the clinic, I felt like I was surrounded by him. I needed to talk about and share that year of my life in order to heal and all of my family members were there to help me. My family are very proud of me (Castle is my mum’s maiden name!). I try not to have any negativity around me. Positivity attracts positivity and negativity attracts negativity; I don’t have any negative people in my life (not in the HIV sense, obviously!).
The porn industry does not support my coming out (as HIV positive) at all. It ignores it. I’ve got some of my own HIV awareness campaigns in the pipeline which GMFA will be backing. The campaign will be beautiful, healthy men and women (who happen to be HIV positive), and will feature a live reaction cam on the streets of London. On the whole, I think that we need to focus on what comes after diagnosis.
When I was first diagnosed, I wasn’t even told what HIV even meant, and they couldn’t even tell me how my medication would affect me. A doctor once told me that I’d only live until mid-to-late 50s. Now I know that I have never been healthier in my life; I never even get the common cold!
If there was one thing you could tell someone about living with HIV, what would it be?
Do everything you can to not get it. But, if you do – we’re not allowed to say this – nothing really changes. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people have had issues with different types of medication. But, for a lot of people, their issue with it comes from having HIV; it’s completely self-induced. I’ve never been that person. You just fucking own it, deal with it, and move on.
Any negativity you may experience is no reflection of you; it’s merely a reflection of a person’s lack of knowledge. You cannot take it personally.
AUTHOR: JORDAN PHILLIPS