[UPDATED] Gay Porn Star Donte Thick Faces Backlash For Saying He Won’t Work With HIV-Positive Models Who Are Undetectable
Despite widespread confirmation from the CDC and hundreds of experts, doctors, and researchers around the world that it’s essentially impossible for HIV-positive people with undetectable viral loads to sexually transmit the virus, there are still some people choosing to ignore that scientific fact. One of those people is gay porn star Donte Thick, who showed off his ignorance yesterday on Twitter (of course):
Thick’s tweet was in response to a tweet from performer Nick Fitt, who announced how he’d be voting at an industry trade group board meeting today as that group attempts to create STD testing guidelines for porn studios:
Since HIV-positive undetectable models have no chance of transmitting the virus to scene partners (or anyone else), Fitt and many others are hoping that the Free Speech Coalition will bring undetectable models into the FSC’s testing system (“FSC PASS“) that many studios use, so they can work equally alongside negative models.
Following Thick’s reply to Fitt, the NextDoorStudios exclusive faced swift backlash from fellow performers and fans for perpetuating HIV stigma, which many consider to be anti-gay, anti-science, anti-logic, and just plain dumb:
What’s ironic about Thick’s tweets is that perpetuating HIV stigma can actually perpetuate the spread of HIV. And as uninformed as the tweets are, they can instill fear in those who might already be afraid of getting tested to begin with. (“What if I’m positive? I’ll be rejected!“) Or, there might even be some who are HIV-positive who see Thick’s tweets and subsequently feel reluctant to disclose their status out of fear of being shamed or rejected by their sex partners. In short: If Thick really cared about preventing HIV and protecting himself, he’d educate himself and learn the facts about how it can and can’t be transmitted.
Via HIVPlusMag in 2017:
After hundreds of other experts and HIV organizations have already signed on to a pledge that recognizes that people living with HIV whose treatment has brought their viral load to an undetectable level — which is nearly half of all HIV-positive people in the U.S. — do not transmit HIV to any other person, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come out with the definitive statement on the subject.
In recognition of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the CDC memo stated, “On this day, we join together in taking actions to prevent HIV among gay and bisexual men and ensure that all gay and bisexual men living with HIV get the care they need to stay healthy.” Gay and bisexual men, the CDC noted, continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV, with, “more than 26,000 gay and bisexual men received an HIV diagnosis in 2015, representing two-thirds of all new diagnoses in the United States, and diagnoses increased among Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men from 2010 to 2014.”
Although these findings are certainly disappointing, the letter’s key paragraph is not. Noting that research has shown that antiretroviral therapy both keeps people living with HIV healthy and has a preventative effect, the CDC writes, “When [antiretroviral treatment] results in viral suppression, defined as less than 200 copies/ml or undetectable levels, it prevents sexual HIV transmission.”
In other words, having one’s HIV suppressed to undetectable levels prevents transmission.
“Across three different studies, including thousands of couples and many thousand acts of sex without a condom or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP),” the statement continues, “no HIV transmissions to an HIV-negative partner were observed when the HIV-positive person was virally suppressed. This means that people who take ART daily as prescribed and achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.”
UPDATE: Following the backlash to Thick’s tweets this afternoon, NextDoorStudios has told Str8UpGayPorn that they’ll no longer be filming with Thick, and his exclusive contract with them is now over. In a brief statement to Str8Up, a studio rep says, “Donte Thick was just released from NextDoorStudios.” After working with the studio for the last two years, Thick’s contract expired this month, and NextDoor says they’ve “chosen not to renew Mr. Thick’s contract.”
Now Donte Thick is claiming that it’s he who decided to no longer film with NextDoorStudios, and he made that decision two weeks ago:
— Donte Thick (@DonteThick) August 2, 2019