As she continues to document her experience living with AIDS, Gena Tew answered a question about how many celebrities she has or hasn’t been intimate with over the years.
The 27-year-old model, who has more than 500,000 followers on 480,000 on TikTok and another 53,000 on Instagram, has been documenting her struggle in a series of videos on social media since going public with her diagnosis in March.
In one heartbreaking clip, which was posted on June 11 and has been viewed more than 12 million times, social media star Tew revealed she struggled to get out of bed as her weight plummeted and muscle atrophy weakened her legs.
As her audience grows by the day, Thew has been fielding a number of questions from her followers, with a lot of interest being expressed in the celebrities she’s dated.
She took to TikTok this week to respond to a follower who asked if she had been intimate with “a lot of celebrities.”
Tew decided to take a more indirect approach to answering the question, sharing a one-second video of herself repeatedly asking, “And you?” before laughing.
One follower reacted by writing that Tew’s video served as a ‘yes’, prompting her to declare: ‘If you say so. I’m just letting people think what they want at the moment.”
When another follower commented that Thew should just say ‘yes’ as she has been intimate with several celebrities, she replied: ‘I’m going to say I’ve met Prince or Michelle [sic] Jackson and see what social networks come up with.”
Last week, Thew hit back at criticism from her detractors, some of whom accused her of using her health problems to boost her online profile.
Tew took to the platform to post the clip saying: “People keep talking about influences but I’ve been doing music but I’ve been doing music/modelling [before] I got sick.”
She then went on to share photos of herself modeling and posing with a host of celebrities, which appear to include Nick Cannon, Taryn Manning, Trey Songz, Dave East, Davido, Jeffree Star and Diplo.
Also accompanying her video montage was a screenshot of her previously posted on Chris Brown’s Instagram account.
Captioning the video, which does not involve sexual intimacy with any of the celebrities, Tew wrote: “How crazy [this] make you??? [I’m] just a man… AIDS DID NOT MAKE ME famous.’
Tew has shared a flurry of videos about her health in recent months, including visits to doctors and posts from home, where she revealed that she had lost the sight in one eye and that her weight had dropped to 65 pounds.
Thanks to modern treatment, Tew has shared videos of herself gaining weight as she recovers from her worst health battle.
Last month, Thew answered questions about how she contracted AIDS, explaining in a video: “I don’t know who gave it to me, where I got it, how I got it. All I know is because I was so sick, to the point of death, they said I should have it for eight or ten years.
“I was living in New York at the time and I was homeless. I actually got raped a few times – not something I like to talk about. I had a few free tattoos so it could have been a dirty needle, I don’t know.
“Do I know these people? No. Did I say something when this happened? No. Because I was naive, stupid and young.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, “is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body’s ability to fight infection and disease.
“HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can also be transmitted through contact with contaminated blood and when using illegal injection drugs or sharing needles. It can also be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. Without medicine, it can take years before HIV weakens your immune system enough to give you AIDS.”
Although there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, medications can control the infection and significantly slow its progression.
“Access to better antiviral treatments has dramatically reduced AIDS-related deaths worldwide, even in resource-poor countries,” states the Mayo Clinic.
“Thanks to these life-saving treatments, most people with HIV in the US today do not develop AIDS. Without treatment, HIV usually turns into AIDS after about 8-10 years.”