My name is Derrick Burts and I am sure I don’t need to tell you who I am. However, I do want to explain why I am writing you this letter.
From the time I was diagnosed with HIV in October of 2010 until now, I have followed several industry insider blogs.
I must say that out of everything I read on all the sites and blogs I am most impressed with your thoughts and knowledge when it comes to important topics within the industry.
I know we may not see eye to eye on several things pertaining my particular case. However, I do believe we agree on one important thing, the performers health and safety. I could not agree with you more about the direction where the Free Speech Coalition and the APHSS is trying to take testing.
I firmly believe that it should be the performers choice on where they choose to get tested and who is allowed to see it. The testing system that is in place by Talent Testing is a great model and I don’t believe there is a need for a new system that would be managed and controlled by the Free Speech Coalition which is ran by Diane Duke.
I don’t think I have to sit here and write about all the things AIM did wrong when they were in business. When I look at the model plan for APHSS I see more of the same if not worse.
This industry has been on the decline for quite some time now, the current testing problem and condom laws is not making it any better. It is time for this industry to come together and start making some changes and start thinking about the health and safety of its performers first before they think about their check books.
Regardless of how people think I caught HIV it really doesn’t matter. The fact is I caught HIV and I could have easily given it to several other performers before testing once again. Diane Duke along with several others truly believe that testing once a month is enough to protect performers from STD’s and HIV. I think it’s common sense to know that there is a huge time gap where you can catch something and spread it before testing once more.
If the performers would open their eyes and take the time to get educated and really think about their own health and safety first before their paycheck they would KNOW for certain that this current system does not work. Again, regardless of how people think I contracted HIV, I was stupid and ignored everything and thought it would never happen to me. I put my body at risk to make a paycheck and I thought that if anything ever happened I would be taken care of by this industry. We as performers need to open our eyes and get educated before it’s too late.
I have come to know several performers over time, some agree with me and some don’t. I think most performer’s truly care but they are too afraid to speak up. I did’t speak out for my own good, I did’t get paid by AHF in any way for doing what I did. I did’t have to go to the public media and tell my story and give my real name and identify myself. I did that by choice and I did it for one main reason. I wanted to make a change and be a coice for those who felt they didnt have one because they are too afraid. I spoke out to bring change to an industry that needs it. I spoke out for every performer who ever got an STD, for every performer who has faced a situation where they felt they were not treated fairly by their agent or by producers they have worked for. I now live a very public life with no privacy. If I give my name to someone and they Google me they know my life story. I gave that up because I truly do care about the health and safety of performers. You can be for me or against me, I honestly don’t care. I have had to deal with bigger things in life such as my health. The last thing you want is to be the next Patient Zetta. That I know we can agree on. It’s time to take a stand against the Free Speech Coalition and the APHSS. It’s time to tell the producers that if they want you to be tested that they should dish out the money to pay for it. It’s time for this industry to place the performer’s health and safety first.
If I could go back and do things differently I would. I can’t do that. You as performers have that opportunity before it’s too late.
And to you Diane Duke…. if you get a chance to see this. I would love the opportunity to debate you one on one on Performer’s Health and Safety.