Derrick Burts, Adult Film Actor Infected with HIV During Time in Industry, to Meet Press Wednesday at 10 AM; Blast Industry’s AIM Clinic

After Testing HIV Positive on October 9th at the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM) Clinic, Derrick Burts, a 24 year-old Male Adult Film Performer (aka Cameron Reid, Derek Chambers) Who Contracted HIV While Working in California’s Multi-billion Dollar Porn Industry, Waited—in Vain—for Over Six Weeks for Industry-financed AIM Clinic to Link Him to Follow Up Medical Care and Treatment

Performer Then Anonymously Sought Treatment Through AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a Longtime Critic of AIM and the Industry’s Lack of Worker Safety, Which Arranged a Medical Appointment for Him Within 24 Hours at an AHF Healthcare Center—Without Knowing his Role in the Industry

LOS ANGELES--()--AIDS Healthcare Foundation:

WHAT:                

PRESS CONFERENCE—Adult Film Performer Infected with HIV to Speak Out

Derrick Burts - the adult film industry’s ‘Patient Zeta,’ a 24 year-old male performer who

tested HIV-positive at the Adult Industry Medical (AIM) Healthcare Foundation’s clinic
on October 9th – to address the press for the first time. Burts will also blast the AIM
clinic for failing to link him for follow up medical care and treatment for over six weeks.
 
WHEN:

WEDNESDAY, December 8th 2010—10:00 AM Pacific

 
WHERE: AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Headquarters
6255 W. Sunset Blvd., 21st Floor (at Argyle)

Los Angeles, CA 90028

 
WHO:

Derrick Burts, 24 year-old adult film performer who became HIV positive

while working in California’s adult film industry. Burts (aka Cameron Reid and Derek
Chambers) will meet the press for the first time since testing HIV-positive in October

Shilpa Sayana, MD, MPH, HIV Care Provider, AHF

Laveeza Bhatti, MD, HIV Care Provider, AHF; & Mr. Burts’ physician (via teleconference at 11:15am)

Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President

 
CONTACTS:

Ged Kenslea, AHF Communications Director (323) 791-5526 cell (323) 308-1833 office

Brian Chase, Assistant General Counsel, AHF (323) 860-5223 work (323) 208-1289 mobile

 
WHAT:

TELECONFERENCE

WHEN:

WEDNESDAY, December 8th 2010—-11:15 AM Pacific

Teleconference Dial in information: +1.877.411.9748 participant code #7931503

International Dial in information (toll call): +1.636.651.3128 participant code #7931503

Derrick Burts, a 24 year-old adult film performer who tested HIV-positive on October 9th at the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM) clinic, a Sherman Oaks clinic funded by and serving the adult film industry, will publicly address the media for the first time since reports of his HIV diagnosis while working in the adult film industry became public in mid-October, creating an international media frenzy and shutting down California’s multi-billion dollar adult industry for several weeks. Burts, who became known as ‘Patient Zeta’ after the news first broke, will appear at a press conference Wednesday, December 8th at 10:00am Pacific Time at the headquarters of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF, 6255 Sunset Blvd., 21st Floor, Los Angeles CA 90028), which over the past four years has independently been championing safety reforms in the adult film industry including efforts to require the use of condoms in all adult film productions.

After testing HIV-positive at AIM’s clinic, Burts, who performed in both straight and gay adult films during the prior several months under the screen names Cameron Reid, Cameron Reed and Derek Chambers, waited—in vain—for over six weeks for AIM and its medical consultant, Dr. (Howard) Aaron Aronow, to refer and link him with a doctor or other health care provider for follow up medical care and treatment. Frustrated and increasingly concerned for his health and wellbeing, Burts then consulted an out of state friend who referred him back to AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s network of healthcare centers in Southern California which provide state-of-the-art HIV/AIDS medical care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. Burts then anonymously sought medical treatment for his HIV through AHF, which arranged a medical appointment for him within 24 hours of his first contact with AHF at one of its Los Angeles-area AHF Healthcare Centers—without anyone at AHF knowing his role in the adult film industry.

"No one should have to wait 6 weeks after an HIV diagnosis to be linked into care," said Laveeza Bhatti, MD, HIV Care Provider, AHF & Mr. Burts’ physician. "It is extremely important that as soon as a diagnosis is made that the patient be referred to an appropriate place for evaluation and medical treatment. In many cases immediate treatment is of the utmost importance and waiting can have very negative consequences for the patient. Fortunately, Mr. Burts was able to get all his tests and evaluation done as soon as he came to AHF. As he was diagnosed early, he has favorable disease markers."

"As an HIV doctor I routinely see how stressful it can be when a patient is first diagnosed with HIV. It is critical that patients are promptly linked to support services, counseling and life saving treatment,” said Shilpa Sayana, MD, MPH, Global HIV Clinician and HIV Care Provider for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Studies have shown that delayed establishment of care following HIV diagnosis is common and is associated with worse long-term outcomes. Any delay in getting newly diagnosed HIV patients the care they need is bad for their health and the health of loved ones."

In early November—to skepticism from both Los Angeles County public health officials and other HIV/AIDS medical professionals—administrators from AIM announced that after two rounds of follow up HIV testing on other adult performers, no subsequent HIV-infections appear to have occurred among performers who may have worked on camera with Burts. According to the Los Angeles Times, AIM officials asserted, "It has been established that Patient Zeta acquired the virus through private, personal activity and there was no transmission of the HIV virus from Patient Zeta to anyone else," according to the announcement. (Los Angeles Times, November 5, 2010, Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Reporter). However, the Times’ article also noted “Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, Los Angeles County's public health director, said that AIM officials had not provided his office with the test results or protocols and that without that information, it was impossible to determine how Patient Zeta contracted the disease and whether all of those exposed had been tested.

During his brief tenure working in the adult film industry Burts also contracted herpes, gonorrhea and chlamydia.

“We are extremely glad to know that Derrick has been linked to care and is receiving appropriate medical care for his HIV infection through AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a government-funded non-profit health care provider,” said Michael Weinstein, President, AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “However, we are astounded that the multi-billion dollar adult film industry and its fig leaf of a clinic could not even get it together six weeks after his first positive HIV test to link him to appropriate follow up medical care and treatment, and that taxpayers—rather than the adult film industry—will be left holding the bill.”

According to a well-regarded study from Institute of Medicine (IOM), the estimated lifetime cost of treatment for one HIV-infected individual is approximately $600,000.

The Los Angeles Times blog "LA Now" first reported Derrick Burts' story December 7th in a posting by reporter Molly Hennessy-Fiske titled "Porn Performer Who Tested HIV Positive Speaks for the First Time."

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the largest global AIDS organization. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 141,000 individuals in 22 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. www.aidshealth.org

Contacts

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Ged Kenslea, AHF Communications Director
Telephone: (323) 308-1833, Mobile: (323) 791-5526
E-Mail: gedk@aidshealth.org
or
Brian Chase, Assistant General Counsel for AHF
Telephone: (323) 860-5223, Mobile: (323) 208-1289
E-mail: brian.chase@aidshealth.org

Release Summary

Derrick Burts, Adult Film Actor Infected with HIV During Time in Industry, to Meet Press Wednesday @ 10am in L.A.; Will Blast Adult Industry’s AIM Clinic for Neglect After Testing Positive Oct. 9th

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Contacts

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Ged Kenslea, AHF Communications Director
Telephone: (323) 308-1833, Mobile: (323) 791-5526
E-Mail: gedk@aidshealth.org
or
Brian Chase, Assistant General Counsel for AHF
Telephone: (323) 860-5223, Mobile: (323) 208-1289
E-mail: brian.chase@aidshealth.org