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US Big Brother winner reveals he left the show after finding out he is HIV positive

Joseph McCormick October 2, 2014

The winner of US television series Big Brother 2007, has revealed that after re-entering the Big Brother house years later, he found out he was HIV positive.

Dick Donato, known for winning Big Brother 8, back in 2007, is currently participating in reality show ‘Couple’s Therapy’, and has used the spotlight to open up about living with HIV.

The 51-year-old, known as “Evel Dick” said whilst appearing in Big Brother 13, back in 2011, he chose to leave after hearing from producers about his diagnosis.

“[The producers] told me that something was wrong with my blood test. They had done two HIV tests. One had come back positive and the other had come back negative,” he told People Magazine.

He was later tested again, which came back positive, after which he left the show.

Speaking honestly, Donato said he was unsure exactly when he became HIV positive, but that he thought he did so after having unprotected sex with a woman.

“People are going to make assumptions about how I got it, and that’s okay,” he told People. “We create a stigma around the disease that makes it hard for people to publicly say they have it.”

Donato also said he was scared for years about people finding out about his status, but that he decided to open up about it, saying he hoped it would encourage others to get tested.

“Look, I get that I’m a reality-show villain. But for better or for worse, I have a platform. And I decided that it was time to just publicly say what I’m dealing with,” he said.

“On one hand, I’m doing this for myself: I don’t want to hide any more. On the other hand, I hope it will remind viewers to get tested, practice safe sex, all those things we know in the back of our minds but maybe don’t do. After I told everyone on ‘Couples Therapy,’ I had two production people pull me aside and say that they had gotten tested. I feel like I can do some good.”

The full interview is available at People Magazine, and Couple’s Therapy is currently showing in the US on VH1.

More: Big Brother, coming out, couples' therapy, dick donato, HIV, hivs, people magazine, sexual health, US

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