Pro Wrestling and HIV

dc drake

Now you’re asking yourself…what in the world is he talking about. Well my friends there is a direct correlation between the two. Blood, transmits the virus and if you’re exposed to contaminated blood there could be a chance of possible infection if it manages to get into you somehow. Wrestling, with all its blood gives a perfect place for that to happen. You have fresh open cuts that are exposed to each wrestler, boxers or MMA fighters that could pose possible STD/STI risks as well. Have you noticed that all referees wear protective gloves? Here’s a former pro-wrestler’s story:  

A recent interview by POZ Magazine with former Pro Wrestler D.C. Drake or Don Drake. In the late 1970’s, Don wasdc drake working through the New Jersey Department of Corrections as a guard. He had many instances struggling with inmates where blood was spilled due to fights or cuts including to himself. Then in the 1980’s inmates were dying of a strange disease and the guards couldn’t figure out what was happening or how it was spreading. He was attacked by an inmate and said, “This young man fit the profile of those with the virus, and I lived for several years afraid of what I may have contracted. So at that point, I had a taste of what someone with the virus was going through. After medical follow-up and some time, I knew I was not infected, and life went on for me.”

He then started working as law enforcement officer and started a family.  His wife gave birth and was given blood plasma and things changed for him after she was infected.  Don said, “I later found out she had AIDS and probably developed progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, which accounted for her behavior changes. She died from this. I was a conservative person who never thought this virus would affect his life, but it did. Although my children and I were never infected, this situation certainly changed my outlook on a great many things in life.”

He then moved to the Pro Wrestling Circuit where things were wild. “As wrestling pushed the limits, the more blood and gore the better. Many of us knew who was “clean” and who was not. We saw a great many using and sharing needles, not just for heroin or other illicit drugs, but steroids, adrenaline, vitamins, etc. We knew who lived “dirty lifestyles,” unprotected sex, hookers, etc. We avoided the gore matches with these people. However, as the saying goes, when you have sex with someone you’re having sex with everyone they had sex with, the same is true for wrestling. If you had a blood match with someone, did we know who they had a match with prior to ours?”

He also said, “business (wrestling) pushed for more and more gore, and the blood flowed freely in the ring during this time without any regulations or medical clearances. It also became no secret of how the blood was produced. If you were cut as a result of the match, blood was drawn the “hard way.” However, in most cases, blood was drawn through self-inflicted wounds with a small razor blade. Some wrestlers were afraid of cutting themselves and had others cut them. In cases of gore matches, a wrestler would cut himself and then his opponent with the same blade, which is equivalent to sharing needles. To this day, I can guarantee you that many wrestlers of that era either have HCV or are undiagnosed with HCV. This is one of the secrets of pro wrestling.”

He survived it all and now is a program director for the Boston–based Victory Programs, a nonprofit dedicated to helping individuals and families who are homeless and may have substance use disorders, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C virus (HCV) and mental illness. D.C. Drake survived the ‘wrestling ring’ but HIV/AIDS touched his life and now he fights a different fight trying to educate and help others. We salute Don for working with others in need.

Tom Thayer

info from interview:


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