The Canadian porn performer known as Lara Roxx started working in the industry just three months ago, but her career is already over. Sometime last month, the sultry-eyed teenager was hired to fly down to Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley - the epicentre of the US porn industry - to appear in a hardcore production in which she was asked to have sex with three different men at the same time.
Her agent, Daniel Perreault, now claims that he urged her not to do the job, arguing that at 18 or 19 (reports of her age vary) she was too young and inexperienced to take part in a group scene, including a manoeuvre known in the pseudo-technical jargon of the industry as a "double anal".
Whether or not it was elaborated with the benefit of hindsight, his warning now seems eerily prophetic. It was Roxx's bad luck that one of her fellow performers, Darren James, had contracted HIV during a trip to Brazil two weeks earlier, and had yet to be diagnosed. It was her further bad luck that she, in turn, became infected by him.
Her Aids test came back positive this week, just days after James was confirmed with the same diagnosis. And the porn industry has been thrown into turmoil - perhaps its biggest crisis since the Reagan era, when the dangers of Aids first became apparent and the presidential Meese commission made a highly publicised, if ultimately futile, attempt to crack down on smut once and for all.
Jim South, the leading agent of the porn world, calls this crisis "one of the worst". Several high-profile performers, including top industry star Jenna Jameson and Mary Carey - briefly in the news last year because she, along with 160 others, ran for governor of California - have called for a tightening of the porn world's already stringent rules on testing for Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The threat of widespread infection may, ultimately, be just one of the industry's worries. While extensive testing is carried out on Darren James's partners, and his partners' partners, most of the industry has agreed to abide by a two-month moratorium. In a business estimated to be worth anywhere from $2bn (pounds 1.1bn) to $13bn a year, that means tens of millions of dollars or more in lost revenue. Performers, many of whom live close to the edge, are likely to face evictions, family breakdowns and lapses into drug or alcohol addictions.
Even more seriously, the HIV outbreak and the attendant publicity could be just the opening the Bush administration has been looking for to enact its very own version of the Meese commission, or something even more stringent. John Ashcroft, the ultra-right-wing attorney general, declared war on porn from his first day in office, blaming the Clinton administration - rather than the advent of the internet - for allowing it to thrive and grow through the 1990s. In his first year, Mr Ashcroft placed porn on a priority list from which the more immediate national danger of terrorism was glaringly absent.
Last summer, the Justice Department launched the first federal obscenity prosecutions in a decade, arresting two porn producers who specialised in particularly extreme films depicting women being raped and murdered. Another 49 people are believed to be under investigation.
Responding to the HIV outbreak, performer Mike Mudd wrote yesterday: "Wait till the blue meanies in DC hear about this one." He even wondered whether this might not be "the end of porn". Such predictions are almost certainly overstated - HIV outbreaks do periodically occur, the last one dating back to 1999 - but the sense of panic is very real. Some have sought to denigrate James as some kind of aberrant oddball, either because of his long track-record in anal sex videos or because of allegations of oddities in his personal life. Others have retorted that the accusations are without foundation - one porn director described James as "a perfect gentleman" on set. …