This is so sad and representative of the dangers a risky lifestyle can pose. It CAN be you – it can be anyone if you don’t protect yourself.
Charlie sheen told the world in an interview with the Today Show that he has been aware of his HIV positive status for four years, which explains some of his erratic behavior in that period.
Charlie Sheen revealed he is HIV positive Tuesday in an exclusive TODAY interview with Matt Lauer.
“It’s a hard three letters to absorb. It’s a turning point in one’s life,” the 50-year-old actor said.
Sheen said he made the announcement to end a smear campaign and extortion efforts.
“I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks and of sub-truths and very harmful and mercurial stories that are about me, threatening the health of so many others that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.
Sheen said he’s trusted the diagnosis with people he thought he could confide in, but has paid out upwards of $10 million to keep the illness a secret.
“What people forget is that that’s money they’re taking from my children,” he said about the “shakedowns” he has experienced. “I trusted them and they were deep in my inner circle, and I thought they could be helpful. My trust turned to their treason.”
He said appearing on TODAY will help put a stop to those payouts.
“That’s my goal. That’s not my only goal. I think I release myself from this prison today,” he said.
Sheen said he was diagnosed roughly four years ago, but doesn’t know how he contracted the virus.
“It started with what I thought was a series of crushing headaches,” he said. “I thought I had a brain tumor. I thought it was over.”
He also insisted it was “impossible” that he knowingly transmitted the virus to others. While he admitted to having unprotected sex with two people since the diagnosis, both were informed ahead of time and have been under the care of his doctor. But Sheen dismissed the idea that he engaged in high-risk behaviors.
“You’re talking about needles and that whole mess? No, definitely not,” he said.
HIV is the virus that leads to AIDS, which has no cure. But “Charlie does not have AIDS,” said the actor’s physician, Dr. Robert Huizenga, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.
While an HIV-positive diagnosis used to be considered a death sentence, and there still is no cure, medical advancements have helped turn it into a manageable illness. However, antiviral drugs must be taken for a lifetime.
Head to the Today Show’s site to read the whole article and watch the interview.