AIDS/HIV

HIV-Positive Porn Star: Condoms Must Be Used in Porn Movies

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

An actor who believes he contracted HIV on a porn film set has spoken out, insisting that condoms be mandatory on porn shoots. "It's very dangerous," said Derrick Burts, 24, who performed in both gay and straight porn movies. "It should be required that you wear a condom on the set."

Burts was tested for HIV in October at a clinic in Southern California's San Fernando Valley. The day following his test, the clinic called him and asked him to come back in. When he arrived, clinic staff told him he had tested positive. They conducted a second HIV test, and Burts gave them a list of people with whom he'd recently had sex, including his girlfriend -- also an adult performer -- and several co-stars. They went through a database of performers, notifying them and placing them on a quarantine list. None of the quarantined performers ended up testing positive for HIV.

Burts' diagnosis sent waves of panic through the porn industry. Until he identified himself, he was known only as Patient Zeta. He performs under the name "Cameron Reid" in straight movies, and "Derek Chambers," in gay films.

When Burts returned to the clinic to review his second set of test results, staff said they'd traced the source of his infection: a fellow porn star, whose name and gender they wouldn't reveal due to confidentiality rules, but who they said was a "known positive."

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Burts thinks he may have become infected during a gay porn shoot in Florida: He says the actors used condoms for intercourse but not for oral sex. The straight porn industry is stringent about performers showing documents proving their HIV-negative status before filming, but the gay porn industry isn't as strict, although condoms are usually used on sets.

Burts is upset about the way the clinic -- the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation -- treated him after he received his HIV-positive status. They promised to arrange follow-up care for him, but never did, he says.

They also released a statement that contradicted their earlier statement to Burts, saying he'd contracted HIV in his personal sex life, which he says is not true: "That's completely false. There is no possible way. The only person I had sex with in my personal life was my girlfriend." Burts' girlfriend has tested negative for the virus.