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Wild porn star Nena Cherry tested HIV positive in February 1997, effectively ending her porn career.

Nurse Noel LeBlanc writes an essay on Nena Cherry in www.adultstarsmag.com:

Here is an excerpt:

No one that I spoke to says they actually saw her use intravenous drugs, which is the HIV associated behavior. Nena absolutely denies this. She claims that much of the ‘slander’ was to target certain women in the industry and discredit them. It is a strange business, after all.

Whether she did or did not live the lifestyle she was alleged, the heart of the matter is whether or not she had HIV and continued to work with it. Equally as important is the issue of how the industry identifies people who have tested positive for the virus.

Luke F-rd, a "porn journalist" who maintains a web site containing dialogue about the industry (more commentary than journalism), was one of many people who slammed Nena. He gained much of his knowledge through a series of newsgroup postings that included letters from Nena Cherry. Luke, after receiving emailed copies of 3 types of negative HIV tests from Nena, posted a public letter of apology for "the role [he] played in transmitting what seems to have been VERY inaccurate information".

Unfortunately for Nena, there are a small handful of people who seem more interested in scandal than fact. What I found woven in newsgroup postings occasionally amounted to name calling. It’s shameful that if Nena was/is HIV positive, that others couldn’t be more humane considering what she would be going through. And if Nena is not HIV positive, that people would not just ‘give her a break’.

Luke: In many ways, Noel's journalism is similar to mine: A combination of journalism and opinion with a touch of moral pontification.


Some of Noel's essay is incoherent:

On Monday, April 20th there was an emergency industry meeting held to discuss the current crisis. Wicked, VCA and Vivid announced their decision to use condoms in all of their scenes, regardless of the consequences.

They asked that other film companies join them in solidarity, but to date none have. Much to their credit,

[Nena: "I began to binge, drink, cry, and just become a complete mess over the breakup. Soon I was doing drugs and just slipping away. I could not get over this man! No matter what his memories were dark shadows cast upon me where ever I went." "Knowing I was addicted to drugs I had to change my life."]

LUKE: The meeting was April 13... and I don't get the transition from "Much to their credit,.... [Nena: "I began..."

From www.adultstarsmag.com:

What Ever Happened to Nena Cherry - Part II

by Noel LeBlanc

[Authors note: In last month’s ASM, we covered the whereabouts of former adult star Nena Cherry and the controversy that drove her from adult film. It was obvious it would take more than one issue to cover her story. Additionally, we’ve received letters from readers wanting to know more about Nena. At publishing time, ASM has not received copies of Nena’s HIV tests as we had hoped. ASM can neither help vindicate nor condemn her... not that either is our role. Here is, however, what you asked for: more on Nena.]

Let’s go back to C.E.S. in Las Vegas, January 1996. C.E.S. is the largest event of the year for the adult industry. It’s where people in adult film network, porn stars connect with fans and where new stars are discovered. For Nena Cherry, this is where she was pulled up into the bosom of the adult industry and this is where her upward climb began.

With stars in her eyes, Nena gave entertainment her all. She worked hard. Under the management of World Modeling’s Jim South, she cranked out an astronomical number of films within a short period, even by adult standards. She pulled off more anal and double penetration (D.P.) scenes in 6 months than many stars perform in their entire careers. Nena made a name for herself in no time.

Unfortunately, film companies often typecast the same way they do actors in television. Once you are labeled an "anal queen", it’s difficult (if not impossible) to break out of that typecast. Nena continued working at a dizzying pace and wondered, as did her friends, how long she could keep it up.

She became involved in an intense love/hate, up/down, mostly rugged relationship. When it was good, it was bliss. When things were bad, there were restraining orders and hard withdrawals from him. All in all, it took it’s toll on Nena along with everything else in her life at that time.

People in the business around her witnessed her decline. There were strong rumors and allegations of IV drug use (sometimes with indiscriminate ‘friends’) and stories of recklessness that included off screen sex marathons. A co-worker of Nena’s said she would "have sex with every guy at the party... until everyone had gone. Only bottles or objects could be had. And then she was all alone, sometimes crying".

There are as many such stories floating around, like lost ghosts, as sex scenes in Nena’s career. Everyone seems melancholy talking about it now. Nena still denies any IV drug use and resents the rumors. The fact remains that most of us will never know the truth because we weren’t there.

This was not the lowest point in Nena’s life. The heavy filming schedule, appearances and events, parties and personal problems all weighed heavily upon her. Like many others before her, Nena quickly went from anonymous to young celebrity. The money, the lifestyle, the drug & alcohol frenzy that swirls around ‘the biz’ is so paper thin you can fall through at any time. Few people last for very long.

Sometime in the fall of ‘96, not quite one year from her film debut, Nena’s HIV tests began to come back questionable. The tests were repeated and more sophisticated tests were performed. The new tests came back the same. Porn stars waive their right to private results as per an agreement between the adult industry and HIV screening centers. In the case of positive or inconclusive tests, the results are faxed directly to the major agencies in the industry, even before the performer gets their own results. Nena’s tests continued to come back positive and the debate still rages about ‘false positives’ to this day.

Nena’s reaction to her tests and to the industry that was boycotting her sent her over the edge. There was an alleged incident where she locked herself inside her boyfriend’s condo for three weeks until authorities got her out. When she emerged, the walls of the condo had been painted black with angry white graffiti spray painted on it among other damage. There is only hearsay regarding this incident.

After things in LA came to a head, Nena left to start her life over again. She chose Texas where she says that her friends, family and new surroundings have helped to heal her emotionally. These days Nena is a subdued version of her former self. Her voice is quiet, cautious. Nena is a recent first-time mother and newlywed. She has a full time job and seems to enjoy her anonymity there.

It seems like Nena’s HIV status is still very much an open wound to her and bringing it up makes you regret doing so. You feel a bit like a voyeur and that she is vulnerable. If the issue were any other than a deadly sexually transmitted virus, things would have been different. The truth of Nena’s HIV status is out there somewhere. If her days of adult film are behind her then it doesn’t matter anymore.

Luke F-rd writes:

Also known as Nena Anderson, Nena Cherry (a psuedonym) entered porn after attending the 1996 CES, racking up 50 DPs in her first ten months in the business. "She has short, dark hair and often wears wigs in both blond and brunette styles. She has large breasts, an ample ass and big eyes that bulge when a cock fills her mouth." (AFW)

Cherry appeared in about 200 videos and became known as an anal queen.

Infamous for her wild ways, Nena participated in orgies and snorted cocaine with such folks as Anna Malle and her husband Hank Armstrong.

According to the 5-97 AVN, Cherry contracted the AIDS virus in September of 1996. The porn trade magazine wrote that Nena tested HIV positive several times while continuing to perform sex on camera until February, 1997. Nena denies this.

Cherry says she never tested HIV positive, and that all RNA tests showed her to be negative. Several Elisa and Western Blot tests, according to Nena, showed inconclusive results. She says she last performed sex on camera 1/25/97 in a video for Heatwave Entertainment called Filth.

Nena returned to Texas after the flap about her possible HIV status. Seeking companionship, she placed several singles ads. Nena met three separate guys who'd read on the internet about her wild reputation and supposed HIV status. On different occasions these men beat her up and threatened to kill her. Their attitude: You're HIV positive. You're a slut. You're killing people. You're better off dead.

"I was beaten black and blue. Once, I had to crawl out of a bathroom window to save my life."

Cherry told the 5/97 AVN: "I never meant to hurt anybody. Right now sex is the farthest thing from my mind. This is such a dangerous business. They're playing Russian Roulette. The new girls are like bunny rabbits in the forest. Sex can be a beautiful thing. Why does it have to be so dark and evil?"

Cherry eventually developed a relationship with the best friend of the man she used to love and live with (in Texas) before she entered porn. They met in June and married in September of 1997.

During the middle of 1997, Nena poured out her broken heart on the rec.arts.movies.erotica newsgroup. I've cleaned up most of her spelling and grammatical mistakes.

"Well hello, my name is Nena Cherry. I see I'm quite a article of discussion and have been for a very long time. At first I was very shocked, hurt and pissed off all at the same time with some of the posts I have seen on here. But now I've decided to come forward and share with you all my version of the incident that took place in L.A. in the adult entertainment industry.

"But before I begin I will probably branch off in several different areas. So please be patient and realize I going to be very honest and share the truth with what took place and what is happening to me today. So if I offend some I will apologize now to those of you, BUT it is time I come forward to say that the lies, gossip, and rumors that have been printed here have got to come to a stop. Who else is going to defend me? It looks as if no one will, and I really didn't expect them too, and if someone does then they can and will be a friend or a fan and that is wonderful. It means a lot... No one really knows me, but they all who claim to have information on me DON'T even know me, so today I'm going to tell you a lot of things about me so that there is no question as to who I am as a person and what I have been through in the last 6 months. I will also like to say I don't appreciate all the know-it-alls who have the distorted version of the truth..."

Cherry says she entered porn for "sex and money. I thought it'd be easier than dancing on the road… I was bored with my life in Houston, and porn was a fantasy of mine… I wanted to get into mainstream films. Through porn you can learn how to act, cheat your body towards the camera by angling it, learn about photography, meet people… But a lot of times, people don't read the script. Like on this shoot. At one point in the story, my character falls out of a closet, dead. And some of the crew members asked me, 'You die in the script?' No one even knew.

"I want more romantic films. For instance, I did a boy-girl scene the other day… in which I had a lot of dialogue. They didn't want all of the smut and the degradation of women. Instead, they wanted a couple coming together, caressing and enjoying one another." (The X Factory)

Nena and I corresponded via email through 1998. On 2-4-98, she sent me this: "First of all, I have rights, whether it be online, or whatever. I ask of you, even though you claim to be reporting the "notes", or information you have on me in your book that you sell online, and the available information you give on your web site per se, to the world wide web. This has been falsified and I have no commitment as a United States Citizen to release anything to anyone regarding my medical status whether it be HIV or Leukemia, much less using IV drugs for recreational purposes.

"I want you to think about it and do the right thing and remove this false information about me, that you do have on your web site and in a book that is available to anyone from your web site. Can you do that for me?

"I would greatly appreciate to clean up some of the awful rumors or gossip that has been circulating on the Internet. This whole ordeal has been a real tough time for me. I have to come forward and TELL you to help me bring it to a end. The time is now. I have rights, and for a year now I have been violated.

"Luke, let me ask you a question. How would you like it if this happened to you and you had no support in life and had to start all over, much less be insulted and dragged across the coal world wide. I have been humiliated and depressed about my past. I lead a VERY normal life and want nothing but the best for all of us. I'm not a mean spirited person, I never was. I respect people and have a good heart.

"Take the time for once and think about what I had to say tonight, it really is coming from the bottom of my heart."

Nena says "my husband and my family are my support. They know the pain I have suffered as a consequence of my lifestyle, and they have been there for me, and helped me regain a life that is much better than anything a video shoot can offer. Those things are no longer important to me and what I have now is what I have always searched for. I have love."

Prior to porn, Cherry worked as a stripper. Her manager was Charlie Frey, who manages during strippers and porn stars like Jasmaine St. Clair. "Charlie booked a lot of gigs for me. One day he asked me if I wanted to fly out to Los Angeles and do a movie for John T. Bone. Jasmine St. Clair, Monique Amore and I did our first movies for John - Hellfire and Blonde."

After those painful experiences, Nena parted ways with John and Charlie. She joined Jim South at World Modeling and met Ron Jeremy whom she credits for keeping her in the business. "I recall one night I was talking to him on the phone and told him I wanted to return home and he hurried over to my hotel and persuaded me to stay. We became buddies.

"Not only did we work together, but Ron and I hung out together. Ron has a heart and loves to have fun. He is not bitter and he never talks bad about people.

"I only did a few girl-girl scenes, instead concentrating on boy-girl, anal, gangbangs... The few times I did girl-girl I did not agree with the personal hygiene of the women. If you know what I mean…

"I did a lot of anal, and it seemed that was the only way to get work, which sucked. It seems that once you lock yourself into that situation that is all they expect from you. Many times I worked on a set, I literally felt drained from too much anal, but I proceeded to give the camera my best. I really enjoyed working and felt I gave 100%.

"After a while I guess you can over expose your self, and I did. Then it is harder to get work. I did got through a burn out phase, for one I had worked myself to death, and had a series of events take place. Such as my roommate moving me out while I was out of town, so I came home and had to relocate very fast. I did, and that was a nightmare. I wont get into at this time, but soon I was rescued from a V.P. at a Toyota dealership.

"He (Richard) and I hit it off, it seemed really nice in the beginning. I stayed at his house for a few weeks and began to get work and then moved out to my own place. He and I continued to date. All seemed well, and the out of the blue we were over.

"At the time I thought this was the worst thing that could have went wrong in my life! I began to binge drink, cry, and just become a complete mess over the breakup. Soon I was doing drugs and just slipping away. I could not get over this man! No matter what his memories were dark shadows cast upon me where ever I went.

"Knowing I was addicted to drugs I had to change my life, I began another relationship with another man. His name is Dale Weinberg. We had been friends for a while and I moved in with him and we became engaged very suddenly. Basically, I was trying to replace the V.P. "Richard." So this relationship was doomed from the start. Dale and I had a huge fight one night. Dale was arrested for domestic violence and I filed a restraining order and he was kicked out of his condo until the hearing. He was arrested a second time for stalking me…

"I moved into a hotel and started to get work, all seemed to be going well, and it seemed that in no time at all, that I would be on my feet again and have my own place. My close support at the time was Ron Jeremy, Jonathan Morgan, Alex Sanders, and Dave Hardman. I could always talk to the guys and they would help me out and get me work. Soon disaster was to fall in my path again. I went to get my monthly HIV test and it came back indeterminate, I about lost it!

"Then I tested again and the same thing happened, by now I'm losing it! I was tested again, on a DNA test to HIV and a RNA to HIV and they came back negative. This gave me some hope. You cannot possibly imagine what it felt like to see your whole world come tumbling down right in front of your face. It was quite scary. All I had worked for to become a porn star, in the last 18 months was coming to a screeching halt! I felt so alone and, I felt like I was dying. I kept asking myself, "Why me, all I wanted to do was be the best I could be and do my job?" It made no sense at the time. I thought to myself, what am I going to do. It was not as if I already had problems and was trying to overcome them, but NOW I really had bigger problems than I ever thought possible.

"Soon word was out. I give special credit to the ones on the internet, who claimed that they had their legitimate sources and even claimed they knew me...Brandy, Mike South and Luke F-rd. I was the one to confront the Free Speech Coalition and they put me in another hotel and had me tested again, with the DNA for HIV test, and it too came back negative.

"Dale and I talked about what was going on and he offered me support, regardless of our differences, which was very nice. This was a difficult time for me and I'm sure for him too. I stayed in close contact with all my former partners and had a lot of support there for me when I was in Los Angeles, but I had decided I needed to go home to Texas and be with family and friends. Dale offered me money to start my life over, so I took it, and left.

"I had no idea, what I was going to do, I was very lost, and had to face life through different eyes. I felt a lot of pain. Luckily, I had a friend who took me in his home and provided me with a computer, which at the time, I did not even know how to turn it on, much less type a sentence. I really had no clue! I have to say I have came a long way in a very short time.

"I decided to finally face life's hardships and challenges for the first time in a positive a meaningful direction. I kept my spirits up, and sought knowledge in every area of my life, my health, my relationships, my spirituality, and so forth. I began to see improvements everywhere.

"I finally had found a new career on the internet, I had a web site developed and began to explore the vast world wide web. I found it to be a amazing and unlimited resource. I also found it to be a weapon that a lot of people take advantage of. The internet has hurt me in many ways. I was constantly being attacked and made out to look like someone who was not a part of my character at all. I did not know how to cope initially, but I was forced to learn very fast.

"I was astounded at the lack of compassion or humanity that was offered to me. After all I had gave and what I was going through, you would think that people would stick together and try to be supportive and lend some comfort due to the HIV scare that I was going through . That was not happening here as you will see, in fact it was quite the opposite.

"I had three main attackers. One is Brandy Alexandre who used to be a porn star in the eighties, and one is Mike South, who shoots amateur videos, and is based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Not affiliated with the industry as he " claims " to be. In fact most people out in Los Angeles don't know or even like him. He is about as well known as some of the girls he shoots in his wimpy little series. He gloats and brags about his AVN awards as if it were some miraculous achievement in life. It's really funny how he goes on about it. Smut is SMUT, there are no two ways about it. The third is Luke F-rd, now he has pissed me off equally as the other two, but even though, I can tolerate him a little better. Luke is a writer, basically for nobody, and he is nobody special for that matter. He lies and exaggerates and starts rumors that hurt people, he has that in common with Mike South and Brandy.

"In June 1997, I met a wonderful man, who is now my husband.. He knew all that had taken place and was currently going on. He did not care, he loved me, wanted me to be his wife, he offered me a new life and made sure that I was cared for. We were engaged a month later and in August I was pregnant and we married in September. I had to be tested again for HIV and this time the antibody test came back negative and the DNA came back negative too.

"We sure were happy, and now we could put the past behind us for good. The explanation as to why the HIV test were false positive were unknown for quite some time, I have since learned through more test that I have Lupus, I have Discoid Lupus which is not as serious as Lupus and I have always had it, I had been treated for it, and it was dormant. The stressful lifestyle I had in Los Angeles and the drugs I had been doing caused it to surface again. I have been treated again, it seems to be under control. I'm not worried about it and life goes on.

"On March 8, 1998, I gave birth to a baby girl, she is doing just fine, and I have never seen such a tiny little baby. She is just adorable. She has made my life so much more valuable and is a constant reminder of the true love that my husband and I share. I am one of the luckiest people I know. I have been through so much and came out on top, through hard work, responsibility and perseverance.

"I have always believed that the power of love and goodness prevail the forces of evil. I'm a prime example of that. Nobody deserves to go through what I have been through. When somebody is going through any type of hard time or illness, especially dealing with the subject of HIV , it seems common sense would tell us to offer support and comfort any way you can. NOT to try to hurt someone, for any reason. That is what amazes me, is that these people have tried to say things and hurt me at no cost.

I had to rechannel the negative influences in my life to restructure my spirituality in order to heal and overcome my dilemma, the pain that these people had placed in my life was cold and cruel. They hurt me, I did nothing to any of them to deserve this treatment. I have never met any of them, nor do I know what any of them even look like.

"My husband, my friends, and our families are my destiny and they are the ones who I am to spend all my time and energy and love on. They get the real "Me." I don't know what I would have done, having to go through this alone, the last 14 months have been hard enough. But now I get my happy ending. No matter what, I have put my life back together, I have conquered life's hardest lessons and I WON. Nobody could ever say or do anything to me to ever hurt me that bad again. I have been through and heard it all before. It just would not matter.

"I want the people out there to get glimpse at the real me, in hopes that I can reach out to others, and give support to people who need it. There is enough sickness and suffering in this world, we don't need to intentionally do things to hurt people. If you or someone you know is needy, or going through a hard time, lend your support. It is your responsibility as a human being. We should all do our part live in peace. Causing turmoil in ones life is wrong. We all have choices and can change. I have a lot of wisdom and have done things that I'm not proud of, and I have learned the hard way many times."

On 4/10/98, Nena E-mailed me three different HIV test results that showed she was negative: "I did not have to do that, since I'm not having sex with anyone other than my husband.

"I have made a new and wonderful life for myself. My daughter is one month old, and she is so sweet [Nena has no daughter, this is a lie]. Being a mother is a joy, especially after all I have experienced that was bad. She makes up for it, and my husband and our families.

"My HIV status is really none of no one's business but mine and my husbands. Whatever I did in the past is the past.

"Here is what a day in my life is like: I hardly get any sleep. I'm up all night and feeding. During the day, I have a coffee club at my house and some of the other housewives, and we all get together and talk, while the kids play. Today I baby sat for a neighbor. I stay at home and my husband goes to work and provides for his family. This is what I always wanted.

"I live in a brand new subdivision and basically its all married upper class family with children.

"I would never dream of sticking a breast out for another man to see. I have CLASS. The past is the past and that is where it shall remain.

"I never contracted HIV. I never did intravenous drugs. I also know that the other HIV+ girls are not IV drug users. I think someone inside the industry is intentionally leaking these awful lies about people to cause the damage. I knew both girls and they never shot up. The person going around saying this should be killed… It's Mafia. I'm sure of it. If they can't kill you, what better way to get rid of a problem. I wouldn't mind putting a bullet in someone's lousy f---ing head who messes with me or my family or comes around my property. In a second!"

A few days later, Nena took down her pornographic web site www.nenacherry.com and claims she took a job as a lab technician for Fuji. She wrote a regular column for Houston's Adult Scene monthly.