Porn actor steps forward to criticize adult film industry after being diagnosed HIV positive

Adult film actor Derrick Burts, 24, who tested positive for HIV, reacts during a news conference, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010, in Los Angeles. Burts said he wished he had known more about the risks of contracting sexually transmitted diseases in the industry and is calling for mandatory condom use in porn films. At left is Dr. Shilpa Sayana.
Adult film actor Derrick Burts, 24, who tested positive for HIV, reacts during a news conference, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010, in Los Angeles. Burts said he wished he had known more about the risks of contracting sexually transmitted diseases in the industry and is calling for mandatory condom use in porn films. At left is Dr. Shilpa Sayana. AP Photo/Nick Ut

A 24-year-old porn actor recently diagnosed with HIV is stepping forward to criticize the adult film industry and call for greater enforcement of safety regulations on sets.

Derrick Burts just found out two months ago he is HIV positive. He was an actor and magician on cruise ships before he says he got into porn for the money. He worked in both gay and straight porn. And he says he thought he would be safe.

“And I think that’s what a lot of performers think going into this. There’s testing in place; my health is safe; I get tested every month; I’m only working with people who are clean, who tested clean. So you start to think that.”

The straight adult movie industry tests actors monthly. In September, Burts was fine. In October, he tested positively for HIV.

Industry officials say he must have contracted the disease in his personal life. He denies that.

He says the straight porn industry routinely fails to abide by laws requiring actors wear condoms. Burts says the industry doesn’t do enough to protect actors against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

He says the industry fails to abide by laws requiring actors wear condoms. "Condom use is already mandatory in the industry. It's just not being pushed. They are not following through. And that really upsets me. Just like a construction worker needs to wear a hat, we as performers need to wear condoms.

"No amount of testing in the world can prevent you from getting HIV or an STD. The real importance comes down to wearing protection. And even protection doesn’t guarantee you from getting it. But it does help reduce it by a lot.”

He made the comments in a news conference at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation where he and others called for both regular testing and condom use for actors in both the gay and straight adult film industries.

“In something as serious as this, belt and suspenders are appropriate." That’s Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The group has long pushed the porn industry to improve health and safety conditions for actors.

He says in the past five years, nine actors have been diagnosed HIV positive. The industry’s volunteer testing organization called AIM Healthcare says only one person has been diagnosed HIV positive in the past decade and that is a record the organization is "proud" of.

Burts says the industry doesn’t do enough to protect actors against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

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