Thursday, October 2, 2014

Big Brother Winner Dick Donato: 'I Am HIV Positive'

When Big Brother 8 winner Dick Donato signed up to appear on VH1's Couples Therapy, he decided to use the show to go public with a very personal struggle: He has been living with HIV since 2011.
Big Brother Winner Dick Donato: 'I Am HIV Positive'
Dick Donato.
The reality-TV villain, who often goes by the nickname "Evel Dick," is appearing on the VH1 show with his on-again, off-again girlfriend Stephanie Rogness-Fischer. On Wednesday's episode of Couples Therapy, he'll reveal his struggle with the show's therapist, Dr. Jenn Berman. In an upcoming episode, he will share the news with the rest of the show's cast, including The Bachelor's Juan Pablo Galavis and Nikki Ferrell.

In a candid interview, Donato, 51, tells PEOPLE about his journey – and how living with HIV has changed him.

His Diagnosis
Donato was competing on season 13 of Big Brother when producers called him into the house's Diary Room. "They told me that something was wrong with my blood test," he says. "They had done two HIV tests. One had come back positive and the other had come back negative." The show's doctor took more blood. Two hours later, Donato learned the life-changing news. "When they told me, I just went numb," he says. With little explanation, Donato left the show. "They had a car take me from CBS to my mother's house. She was the first person I told."

"My biggest fear was telling my girlfriend," Donato continues. "We had this long discussion, and I figured she would freak out. But she was really understanding about the whole thing. She said, 'Whatever happens, we'll face it together.' She was tested and it came back negative. It was an incredible relief."

Donato doesn't know how he contracted the disease, but he suspects that it happened during unprotected sex with a woman. "People are going to make assumptions about how I got it, and that's okay," he says. "People are afraid to come forward because they're afraid of the stigma of HIV. I'm not gay and I've never stuck a needle in my arm, but at this point, it doesn't matter. We create a stigma around the disease that makes it hard for people to publicly say they have it."

Donato began researching treatment for HIV. "Being diagnosed is like being blindfolded and spun around 100 times, then being left in a dark room," he says. "I spent a lot of time trying to figure out my next steps – the right doctors and medications. I really began to understand how frustrating it could be."

Going Public
For three years, Donato was afraid of being found out. "I went to a clinic that had a big sign that said 'HIV' and I thought, 'What if someone sees me?' My computer and router were hacked and I was afraid that someone would leak the information. I came up with excuses – people wondered why I was taking medicine regularly. When people asked why I left Big Brother, I would give quippy, smart-ass answers."
Article and Photo Credit: People www.people.com

2 comments:

  1. Aliesha Carla SanchezMarch 4, 2015 at 11:56 PM

    I will says to the world to celebrate this great testimony with me, i never believe i can eve get rid of these horrible disease one day. My story and thanksgiving goes to Dr Ogbefi the powerful man who help me to CURE MY HIV-AIDS disease from my life. I dont know how to say this to everyone, Dr Ogbefi is a truthful man with high herbs power's he uses to save people's life. Last few days i came in contact with Dr Ogbefi emails on the internet which people gave much testimonies about his kindfullness work. So i decided to contact him quickly because this disease was almost on the last step of taking my life from me. I have tried all my steps on life to get heal but nobody could ever help apart from Dr Ogbefi who finally help me to cure my hiv disease from me. I always amaxed and overwhelmed when the doctor comfirm that i am now healed from aids, and i now i am an HIV-AIDS NEGATIVE PATIENT. I wish anyone who is sick today and wants a healing please i will kindly advice you to contact this man called Dr Ogbefi now at: hivcurecenter@gmail.com
    I live in Germany, called Maxwell Brooks. to get this powerful healer full article and trust on his origination and references please visit this below website now at:
    I will says to the world to celebrate this great testimony with me, i never believe i can eve get rid of these horrible disease one day. My story and thanksgiving goes to Dr Ogbefi the powerful man who help me to CURE MY HIV-AIDS disease from my life. I dont know how to say this to everyone, Dr Ogbefi is a truthful man with high herbs power's he uses to save people's life. Last few days i came in contact with Dr Ogbefi emails on the internet which people gave much testimonies about his kindfullness work. So i decided to contact him quickly because this disease was almost on the last step of taking my life from me. I have tried all my steps on life to get heal but nobody could ever help apart from Dr Ogbefi who finally help me to cure my hiv disease from me. I always amaxed and overwhelmed when the doctor comfirm that i am now healed from aids, and i now i am an HIV-AIDS NEGATIVE PATIENT. I wish anyone who is sick today and wants a healing please i will kindly advice you to contact this man called Dr Ogbefi now at: hivcurecenter@gmail.com I live in Germany, called Maxwell Brooks. to get this powerful healer full article and trust on his origination and references please visit this below website now at:

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  2. Dr. Ekpiku God will continue to bless you more abundantly, for the good works you are doing in peoples life, I will keep on writing and posting testimonies about you on the Internet, I’m Tanya Albert, I was a HIV patient, I saw a blog on how Dr. Ekpiku cured someone, I contacted him and also got my healing, kindly email him now on ekpikuspelhomeofgrace@gmail.com or ekpikuspelhomeofgrace@hotmail.com email me on tanya.albert58@yahoo.co.uk. THESE ARE THE THINGS Dr. Ekpiku. . HERPES . HIV/AIDS . CANCER...

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