Back in 2011, Big Brother brought in six contestants from previous seasons to compete with a group of new players in Season 13. Among them was Dick "Evel Dick" Donato and his daughter Daniele, both of whom competed and won Big Brother 8. It was looking like we were in for another season of Evel Dick's entertainingly obnoxious antics inside the Big Brother house. And then on Day 6, Dick left the house suddenly, with no explanation beyond an urgent personal matter. Three years later, Dick has revealed that the reason he left was because he was told that his blood test came back positive for HIV.
Via People, Dick Donato is set to address his diagnosis on this week's episode of VH1's Couples Therapy (Wednesday at 9:00 p.m.). From what People reports, Dick learned of his diagnosis while he was in the Big Brother house during the start of Season 13. "They told me that something was wrong with my blood test," he revealed. "They had done two HIV tests. One had come back positive and the other had come back negative." More blood was taken and in a matter of hours, Dick learned that he was HIV positive.
It's devastating news, and from the sound of it, Donato was understandably stunned by it. "I'm not gay and I've never stuck a need in my arm, but at this point, it doesn't matter," Donato said, when discussing how he might have contracted the disease. He doesn't know how he contracted it.
Update!: Evel Dick spoke with TMZ and outlined what happened, or at least what he thinks happened. Apparently, he had unprotected sex with a stripper, thinking it was fine since he's had a vasectomy. She apparently got her period during the encounter and he woke up covered in blood.
Dick Donato won Big Brother 8, with his daughter Daniele coming in second place that season. Their victory was impressive, when considering Dick's antagonistic approach to playing the game. (Enjoy some of the highlights here). He sometimes used his bad behavior -- name calling, fight-picking and other ridiculous (but entertaining) antics -- as a strategy.
Those who watched his very brief second turn on Big Brother 13 in 2011 likely remember his abrupt exit, as it happened very early on in the season. The lack of explanation was certainly perplexing, especially considering he left his daughter in the house. If memory serves, Daniele was just as bewildered by her father's exit as everyone else. No further explanation was given to viewers about Dick's departure, and while the reality show villain has been pretty active with the Big Brother community and fandom in the years that have followed -- posting on his Twitter and hosting a "Dick at Nite episode recap -- he never offered the full explanation of why he left Season 13, until now.
From what People's article says, it sounds like Dick experienced a fair amount of anxiety over the matter, and that's part of the reason he's speaking openly about it, but he also sees the positive side in going public, as it might do some good..:
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."
Donato has since Tweeted that he doesn't like the stigma that comes with being HIV positive...
He also notes that The Talk and Julie Chen -- who hosts Big Brother and The Talk -- turned down the opportunity to discuss this topic with him because of the stigma attached to HIV...
It'll be interesting to see is CBS responds to that, or if they have a change of heart and have him on the show.
As for how Dick's managing these days, he explained that he's taking medication to treat his condition, and from the sound of it, he's doing ok. "I live a very normal life," he said, noting that he doesn't have a lot of health issues right now. Hopefully that remains the case in the years ahead. In the meantime, hats off to him for speaking up about this very personal matter.
Watch a clip from the Couples Therapy episode after the jump...