A clinic frequented by porn stars stood by findings that an adult film actor contracted HIV through personal sexual activity, contradicting his claims that he was infected through work.
Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation spokeswoman Jennifer Miller said the San Fernando Valley clinic stands by its testing, which resulted in the quarantine of an unknown number of actors and found no other cases of the disease.
“It’s going to come down to ‘he said, she said,’” said Miller.
At a news conference, Derrick Burts came forward for the first time since news of his illness rattled the multibillion dollar adult film industry and shut down a handful of productions for several weeks earlier this year.
Burts, previously known as Patient Zeta, said he was identifying himself after reading last month that Miller said his illness was contracted outside the porn industry “through private, personal activity.” Productions resumed after Miller’s announcement.
Burts said that he was faithful to his HIV-negative girlfriend except for his work, and that he believes he was infected during a shoot in Florida. He said he used condoms for intercourse, but they aren’t foolproof and he may have contracted the disease through other on-camera sexual contact.
The boyishly handsome 24-year-old, who performed in straight films as Cameron Reid and gay films as Derek Chambers, broke down in tears while recalling the frustration he felt after his diagnosis.
The clinic failed to return calls, e-mails and text messages for weeks, Burts said, adding: “I felt neglected. AIM wasn’t there to protect me.”
Burts said instead of providing the follow-up he needed, Miller, who is also the clinic’s HIV/STD counselor, advised him to avoid media, change his phone number and leave town.
In a statement, lawyers for AIM said Patient Zeta was offered counseling, test results and information on how to get treatment.
“Any statements made by Patient Zeta which portray AIM as not providing appropriate and proper services are not truthful and are self-serving,” the clinic’s statement said.
When he first began working in the industry in June, Burts said agents “loved my look and said I had money written all over me.”
He said he began to have doubts about the business after contracting chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes in his first month of work, but was convinced to keep working.
“I wasn’t stupid or oblivious, I knew what was out there. But it’s not something you think about when they fill your head” with lucrative offers and promises that the work is safe, he said.
Burts said after his initial diagnosis Oct. 9, the clinic conducted a follow-up test and began testing performers he’d worked with since he lasted tested negative for HIV on Sept. 3.
On Oct. 23, the positive diagnosis was confirmed, and he said the clinic had traced his infection to an HIV-positive performer with whom he had worked.
After weeks of no response from the clinic, on Nov. 24 Burts said he visited an AIDS Healthcare Foundation center in Los Angeles but didn’t identify himself as Patient Zeta.
Burts contacted the head of the organization last week and identified himself as Patient Zeta, as first reported by The Los Angeles Times. He said he wanted to speak out in favor of enforcing mandatory condom use in porn productions.
“I don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” said Burts. “We need to come up with a system that works.”