Dick “Evel Dick” Donato, one of Big Brother’s most popular villains, won the show during its 8th season in 2007 and came back 4 years later for the 13th season. Six days into the 13th season, Evel Dick played the “I QUIT THIS BITCH” card by walking out of the house. The viewers and houseguests were told that Dick had an emergency personal issue he had to deal with. Dick never said what that personal issue was, but on tonight’s episode of Vh1’s Couples Therapy, he tells Dr. Jenn and the rest of the cast that he is HIV positive and he found out while he was in the Big Brother house.
To promote that episode, Evel Dick talked to People Magazine about the moment he found out he has HIV and why he’s going public.
On how Big Brother producers called him to the Diary Room and told him he was HIV positive after their doctors tested his blood twice: “When they told me, I just went numb. They had a car take me from CBS to my mother’s house. She was the first person I told.”
On telling his girlfriend (the one he’s on Couples Therapy with): “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.”
On how people are going to think he got it from dirty needles, but he thinks he got it from having bareback sex with a woman: “People are going to make assumptions about how I got it, and that’s okay. 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.”
On why he decided to tell everyone after not talking about it for years: “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. On one hand, I’m doing this for myself: I don’t want to hide anymore. 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.”
On how he doesn’t have any health problems and expects to terrorize reality TV for a long time: “I take one pill a day. The only side effect I’ve noticed is that I have a lot of vivid dreams that wake me up during the night. But it’s a small price to pay: My viral load is virtually undetectable, I’m happy to say. I live a very normal life and don’t have a lot of health issues. It also means that it’s highly unlikely I could pass the disease along, although I don’t have unsafe sex anymore. I fully expect to die of something else when I get old, not HIV or AIDS”
On how being HIV positive has changed him: “I knew it wasn’t a death sentence like it used to be. But it has still changed me. I do think about others a lot more now. I’m looking forward to going public with this, because maybe, just maybe, this can be the moment where I do something that really helps other people.”
There’s no “good” way to find out you have an incurable virus, but finding out in the Diary Room of the Big Brother house is awkward as shit. Dick was in the house with his daughter, whom he had/has a dicy relationship with, and so he had to leave without telling her. Hopefully, the producer or doctor broke it to him gently and didn’t send The Chenbot into the Diary Room to tell him, “But first, Evel Dick, you’re HIV positive.