How An HIV-Positive Gay Porn Star’s Lie Helped Shape L.A.’s New Condom Law

derek chambers porn rentboy

It happens casually. If you keep repeating something that isn’t true enough times, eventually people just stop bothering to remember that you’re lying. And if what you’re lying about helps set and push a politically popular agenda? Even better.

The most recent example of how a lie becomes the truth is in this article about L.A.’s new mandatory condom law, which quotes well known former gay hooker and gay porn star Derrick Burts. The mainstream, well-respected, and left-leaning UK paper The Independent writes:

“Herpes comes with the job. Everyone gets it,” says a former adult actor Derrick Burts. The bisexual performer worked in the industry for a few months at the age of 24. In 2010, he tested positive for HIV. “Testing is a broken system. It does not protect the performer; it only notifies the performer of what they have,” he says. He was infected on a gay set where performers generally wear condoms for anal sex and HIV-positive men are permitted to work.

Emphasis mine. And The Independent isn’t the first paper to regurgitate Burts’ talking points and present them as facts; the L.A. Times has also been a mouthpiece for Burts and his puppetmasters at AIDS Healthcare Foundation (which was the driving force behind the mandatory condom law). That Burts, who was not just a gay porn actor but also a gay escort, can simply say where he thinks he was infected with HIV and have that be accepted as truth is remarkable. How many HIV-positive people have been able to pinpoint exactly where and when they were infected? How many people who say they know exactly where and when they were infected are telling the truth? Why should we believe them? Because what they’re telling us helps frame the seemingly innocuous narrative that “safe sex is good”? If someone like Derrick Burts says so…

Let’s look at the sentence more closely though.

1. He was infected on a gay set where performers generally wear condoms for anal sex…

“Generally”? The hell? Which “gay set” has a policy of “generally” requiring condoms? That kind of vagueness tells me that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

2. …and HIV-positive men are permitted to work.

??? Tell me which set (which was allegedly in Florida, remember) Derrick Burts was on that “generally” uses condoms and uses HIV-positive models. I don’t believe you. If HIV-positive men are “permitted to work,” why bother testing anyone in the first place? Derrick Burts tested positive, and he wasn’t permitted to work!

Whether or not you believe in Derrick Burts’ story, do you believe in logic? Does The Independent? Because what I see is that a performer tested positive for HIV and his shoot was canceled, thus preventing him from possibly infecting other performers with HIV. The system worked. But by Burts and AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the mainstream media and now the L.A. City Council’s logic, testing doesn’t work. Only condoms—mandatory condoms—work. Condoms like the ones that were used on the gay set where Derrick Burts says he was infected?



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30 Responses to “How An HIV-Positive Gay Porn Star’s Lie Helped Shape L.A.’s New Condom Law”

  1. Legend says:

    Break it down, son. Truth.

  2. Bakelely says:

    I totally agree with your analysis. There is no way to know how he got it — he was escorting and had a personal life, too. And the system did work. Another case of lazy reporting. This is what happens when two-cent bloggers take over journalism.

    • Alan says:

      Yeah – ‘two-cent bloggers’ like the LA Times and The Independent?!?

      Sorry, it’s ‘mainstream journalism’ that’s been getting institutionally lazy and sloppy for years now. Blame the Bloggers if you like (and some of them deserve it all and more) but one of the reasons people read them is because the mainstream media has lost a lot of its credibility and trustworthiness among its readers/viewers who are now looking for alternatives…

  3. N says:

    Didn’t Mason Wyler do many scenes after it was revealed he was HIV positive?

  4. Abaca says:

    But HIV+ men are permitted to work in gay porn for studios like Titan, Falcon and Raging Stallion. Look at Mason Wylers scene with Jesse Santana that was released last year as proof.

  5. Zach says:

    Pay attention to the sentence and the case in question. This isn’t about Mason Wyler or studios in California. This is about whatever set Derrick Burts was on in Florida.

  6. Aaron says:

    I dont understand the bashing this guy gets from the gay porn blogs. Look at the studio exclusives that have worked with condom companies that left the studio because of the HIV. HIV performers in gay porn are mainstream. To attack him for lying is just crazy. Where is the compassion? Perhaps listen to the performers that left condom porn because of HIV scares.

  7. TrueWords says:

    I wish there were MORE analysis of the misinformation that “blacks” were responsible for the failure of Prop 8 in California than this…the truth is the acquiring of HIV is for most people based upon what they deem as unsafe…we do not know that he was not 100% safe when he escorted…I mean come on look at Sean Cody…HOORAY for bareback scenes, these guys assume that they are taking ALL of the pre-cautions but then WHOOPS…will there be a backlash again Sean Cody and/or the actor…

    What people are forgetting the term is SAFER SEX; you can take all of the “precautions” but the TRUTH is nature can find a way…

    Aiden Shaw worked for YEARS with FalconStudios and he was HIV+; these are FACTS, you can read about Aiden in his books and on the link below…if the performer is in DEMAND…I totally believe that these studios would love the other way…

  8. Sausage Smoker says:

    Beyond this point, what is even more troubling is AHF making political moves against the recommendation for using Truvada or other drugs as PrEP treatment for those individuals who are at high-risk for acquiring HIV. Stop and think about that for a minute….an HIV non-profit WANTS TO DENY ACCESS to a potential treatment to prevent the spread of HIV!!!!

    Is that not insane people???

    I hope every LGBT person out there understands this ugly truth about AHF and it’s current leadership. I hope that people STOP giving financial or other support to AHF. I hope Michael Weinstein is forced to resign from AHF because people have had enough of his ego, his power grab, his insane beliefs, and his failed leadership.

  9. bsmith says:

    I normally don’t respond to these because 1) I realize blogs are meant to be “inflammatory” and to stir the pot, but this is the second time The Sword has commented on its web page about the truth value of Derreck Burt’s story about getting HIV.

    I don’t claim to know the truth, but I think it’s utterly disgusting that to pick on someone who decided to be open about his status simply to emphasize the need for better safety measures in porn and in sex. Please look at’s interview with him; he does not come out as a liar (blaming others and not himself) nor as someone with an agenda). So please read:

    To the article above, I want to reply two things.

    1. Of the main articles which have featured Burts the one on being the most thorough, he has always emphasized that he used condoms for anal sex but not for oral sex and that his contraction of oral gonnorrhea from a straight coworker put him at risk, and that he has ALWAYS been unsure about how he contracted the virus but given that he shot with poz male actors, his highest risk was with male porn stars. This is in fact what he said, which the LA times edited:

    “I did a shoot where I was riding [a costar] on top, like a reverse cowboy. He had the condom on and at the end pulled the condom off and did the cum shot all over my butt and near my anus. I know that semen came in contact with that area. This is just an idea of how I got it. Either that or oral, because also the oral side of gay shoots is unprotected and it’s not like normal oral. You are doing 20 or 30 minutes of hardcore gagging. The cum shot was in my mouth. [It turns out that] I had gonorrhea in the throat during that shoot. When you have an active [sexually transmitted infection, or STI] it makes it a lot easier for you to contract HIV. That’s something that the public doesn’t understand. They say, “Oh, I don’t buy [his story]—the chances of him getting HIV from an oral scene or from semen on the butt are very unlikely.” And those chances are low—but [they’re higher] when you have an active STI. [Later tests showed that] I had not only gonorrhea in the throat but also had gotten herpes [and chlamydia]. I gave this version to the media, but I’m sure you can see why they omitted it—it was probably a little too graphic.”

    I understand that’s what he said, but he has never had a particular agenda other than getting people to wear condoms and higher better safe sex in STRAIGHT sets…again he blames a large part of his infection on having a previous STI on putting him at a higher risk. STI’s other than HIV are harder to test for as they must show symptoms for doctors to be able to diagnose them (gonorrhea can occurr in the throat, ass, dick without just one test telling you which one you have; the same for herpes; chlamydia can be asymptomatic in men). I doubt that porn actors take that many STI tests a month, and even if they do, the STI tests would most likely show antibodies or an already growing culture, which means the windows of opportunity of transmission of a porn actor filming at least two scenes a month, are astronomical.

    Nobody, however, cares about these STI’s since they are treatble, but these STI’s increase the risk for HIV and are way more transmittable.

    2. And more importantly, that Derek Burts had SO MANY STI’s proves the SYSTEM DOES NOT WORK! How is it possible for someone to have gonnorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes without ANY of his scene partners being notified of it? That HIV positive men work IS NOT THE PROBLEM. HIV, by itself, is not readily transmissable even without treatment, and as anyone in porn knows, there are Poz actors in gay porn who have sex with their neg counterparts without a problem. The problem is that people still think that HIV is the sole culprit and that it’s a gay disease that you can only get through anal sex. Just look at all the straight porn that’s bareback, and look at Corbin Fisher who uses “straight” bb sex and then condom gay sex… or even has its gay models fuck for like 5 minutes then put a condom half-way through.

    The truth is that, as any HIV specialist will tell you, people DO GET HIV through oral sex. Precum actually has a higher amount of the virus than cum per ml, and all it takes is a cut or an STI.

    Instead of calling someone a liar, I suggest you call liars all the studios (studios that bankroll your website) for selling a dangerous fantasy without any regard for the actors they use. Yeah unprotected anal and oral sex is hot to watch and to have, but it’s not a fantasy. The least all studious could do is try to break the fantasy and (like cigarretes) come with a big warning about what they wish to sell us.

    • Zach says:

      Hello, AHF troll…

      • Estelle says:

        bsmith there is just so much wrong with your post, if you really are an AHF troll as Zach says then it’s frightening that someone working for a HIV/AIDS foundation is so ignorant of the facts about the disease.

        There are enough holes to drive a Mac truck through Burts’ story.

        1.) He was hooking on Rentboy something he tries to downplay. Yes I’ve read the claim that though he had a rentboy ad, he never actually met up with a John. Considering how much he has lied about, I call bullshit on that one.

        2.) Both him and his now ex-girlfriend were swingers and Burts had numerous sexual encounters with men during this time AWAY FROM PORN that he lied about.

        3.) Burts not only had a rentboy ad but he admitted to having a Craigslist ad as well.

        All things that put him at risk for HIV outside of porn.

        Oh and SUPRISE….Burts has a criminal record that involves SCAMMING people. Big shock I know!!!!

      • Andreas Ferraz says:

        just died laughing ,thought the same thing

  10. Nick says:

    Companies will set up shop elsewhere..condomless porn is here to stay!

  11. Tired of the bullshit says:

    I think the AHF saw an opportunity to point a finger and say “I told ya so”, the newspapers saw an attention grabbing headline and story and the actor in question saw an opportunity to shift the focus from his personal life to his professional life as the possible source of infection.

    All those factors added together caused the LA Council to pass the new condom law.

  12. bsmith says:

    Zach and Estelle

    mmm… i’m not affiliated with the AHF. It’s funny that you should call my post trolling when 1) I quoted a direct source from (I guess they’re part of this massive conspiracy against porn too) and 2) I never defended the AHF in my reply.

    Aside from that and your ad hominem arguments against Burts’s character (I guess you have quite a clairvoyance on Derek Burt’s private life to make you an authority), I don’t see how ANY of your arguments answer my claims that 1) if Porn studios cared SO MUCH about their actors, they would have caught Burt’s several STI’s and 2) EVEN IF Burts was lying, what he advocates for (i.e. condoms in straight and gay porn) is a correct position AND as I said before, HIV can be transmitted through oral sex if there are several STI’s as well as oral trauma from prolonged cock gagging present.

    But lastly, since when is advocating for condoms in porn trolling??? Since when is saying that 1) AIM confirmed you had sex with two poz porn actors and 2) you were at risk from other STI’s, lying??? It is a known fact that there are poz actors in the porn industry as well as a known fact that studios would rather have bb scenes for profits than demand strict condom adherence.

    I am not saying that condoms are simply the solution nor banning bb porn, etc. My only issue with the article, which btw is still front and center in The Sword’s homepage, is its accussation of someone who obviously 1) has no agenda and 2) has only come out to stop others from getting HIV. We should not find a scapegoat in one actor who only spoke his mind up, but rather rethink how we approach porn altogether.

    But if you rather do something else, keep calling people trolls, liars, and sluts and pretend that HIV is only bad people get. Let’s hope it doesn’t come knocking at your door.

    • Zach says:

      You were told that your comments would not be approved because you’re attempting to spread misinformation, and there is no need to repeat it more than once. If you think you’re being censored, go start your own blog and tell your stories there.

  13. RichardB says:

    And what aboutb the dude’s sexual behavior off the set?

  14. go to Nevada at least you can work the brothels and shoot as well double whammy and guess what its legal and taxed …………der da der….oh yeah… not to mention the testing system is already in place as well as the latex barrier enforcement……..I guess we can just look forward to illegals passing out card on the strip and gay 4 payers running amok and crying to their supposed girlfriends while the brothels keep their standards and taxation system… not like Cameron Reed aka patient Zeta was taxed on any money he kept while turning tricks for rent boy….wimper wimper…..not to mention last time I checked a porn shoot it looked like they recruited all of their talent from a Lowes parking lot….ahhh america dont you just love the supidity…….

  15. Rex says:

    I am not saying Derek is lying. I feel very bad for him. He may be telling the truth. bsmith makes a lot of sense except as far as I know- while oral sex is a risk for HIV- there are very few cases reported in the literature of people definitely acquiring HIV thru oral sex.

  16. Jeremy says:

    AHF and finger pointing? Did the AHF/Out of the Closet Hollywood regional stores area manager during his former gay porn career activities go without a condom when in a situation that called for taking occupational safety precautions?

    AHF has a long history of not bothering with ethics to check veracity especially when it works toward it’s goal(s). They created a tremendous stir when they perceived that there was potential for a massive meningitis outbreak following the last Palm Springs White Party when a West Hollywood male was found to be inflicted with the illness and then dying so soon following the circuit event. Without consulting the Los Angeles Co Health Department they announced in televised segments that the gay and general community should be aware of this death and the possibility of subsequent more since so many local and out-of-area attendees go to the events or have contact with those that do. Evidently, the relationship between the org. and Co. is so strained that there was no way to get some statistical information to see if there was a spike in potential exposure. It was found that the last incidence in the Co. was in December the previous year when there were less than 20 Co-wide.

    AHF had to be taken to court to desist continuing in their efforts to usurp the idea of the AIDS Cycle event of another Los Angeles HIV organization. They went to far to attempt a foot hold that easily it could be mistaken that publicity icons were used in its literature would be thought of the originating organizations years long work.

    When AHF opened it non-medical clinic site pharmacies they dug up all the medical files of its former clients and called soliciting transfer of the person’s medications to the expanded service. They would even mention that their service was strictly not-for-profit versus the services of another gay associated medical clinic pharmacy in order to attempt a potential pharmacy client.

    And god forbid you should ever have any thing that the AHF/Out of the Closet employees should view as being a negative reaction to their actions whereupon you will be banned from the stores as if their locations are the only places to find secondhand property. They seem to take a very singular defensive reaction toward any thing that they perceive as publicly stated and negative toward their image. Their secondhand market is not particularly growing with the closure of several locations and shelves that are not as full as before the economic downturn. Last I heard they had expanded to Florida before the downturn and in order to establish a medical clinic presence in the state bought the practice of a retired doctor. Would be interesting to learn what decrease there has been with qualified clinic and pharmacy clients in the San Diego area now that with the need to present official documents to show residency that those clients who are nationals of Mexico and reside only in Mexico but use services at the San Diego location. I think that there was or is a Tijuana medical clinic location as well.

    As for condom use, it never has been a 100% solution to hindering HIV exposure to others and never will be since detection of exposure is not instantaneous. But if that is the standard by which some people want to deceive themselves then so be it but we all know that the general support outside the porn industry for condom use came from those attempting to stop both the m2m, and every other conceivable human porn industry operating in Los Angeles Co. AHF needs an issue with which to be identified yet even when a well known lubrication product had a promotional push for safe sex it was found at an earlier Palm Springs White Party event that the hair to that company was in attendance at condom-less/non-safe sex after party activities when that product was an official sponsor of the event.

  17. Look how your beautiful system of “let’s fool the world into believing we test so we are safe, no need for mandatory condom” is working:

    Tearful HIV positive porn star lovers appear together at emotional press conference to hit out at insufficient testing within the industry

    Third porn actor tests positive for HIV; industry faces indefinite shutdown

    Fourth Porn Performer Tests HIV-Positive, AIDS Healthcare Foundation Says; Unconfirmed By Health Officials (UPDATES)

    Your mafia like industry is not going to get away this time, even if you get your ways through local politics the public, the people of LA are going to shut you down. Go find another state with a constitutional impunity to cover your ass. Good luck with that! There is only one California and it is waking up on your BS.

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