Derrick Burts, HIV-Positive Porn Star, Pushes Condoms for Adult Films (PICTURES)
(CBS/AP) Make condom use mandatory for adult film actors.
That's the urgent recommendation from someone who learned the hard way about the dangers of unprotected sex in the age of HIV/AIDS: A porn star who recently tested positive for HIV.
Derrick Burts, 24, who acts in straight films as Cameron Reid and gay films as Derek Chambers, told the Los Angeles Times that he learned last October he was HIV-positive - an infection that sent fears through California's adult film industry.
The staff at the clinic that did the testing told him they wanted to perform a follow-up test and begin notifying performers he had worked with since his last negative test result Sept. 3. He was told those performers would be placed on a quarantine list and also would be tested.
When Burts returned to the clinic Oct. 23 to review the second test results, he said he was told that the clinic had traced his HIV infection to a fellow actor they described as a "known positive." The clinic would not identify the performer because of patient confidentiality.
What do doctors say about the idea of mandating condom use in porn films?
"It's really commonsensical that the actors should be using condoms," said Dr. Shilpa Sayana, an AIDS specialist with the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has been a strong advocate of condom use in adult films. "The actors are tested every month, but that is insufficient because they could be in a window period."
That's the span of time known to exist between the time of infection and the time when antibodies to HIV become detectible in the blood. The window period can last up to three months, Sayana said.
Burts said he believed he may have contracted the disease during a gay porn shoot in Florida. But clinic officials released a statement last month that said he had acquired the virus through "private, personal activity."
"That's completely false," Burts told the Times. "There is no possible way. The only person I had sex with in my personal life was my girlfriend."
She tested negative, he said.
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