Editor’s note: This article was first published in the Washington Blade, an LGBTI news outlet based in Washington DC, US. This story was reproduced with their permission.
CHARLIE Sheen announced overnight on the US version of the Today show that he is living with HIV.
[showads ad=MREC]Sheen told Today show anchor Matt Lauer that he has known about contracting the virus for four years (scroll down for a video of the interview).
“I’m here to admit that I am HIV-positive,” Sheen said.
“And I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks, subtruths and very harmful, mercurial stories that are threatening the health of many others, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
The confession follows a slew of tabloid stories that reported Sheen’s HIV status, including the National Enquirer and TMZ.
Sheen said all of his sexual partners, including paid escorts, were aware of his HIV status when they engaged in sexual activity with him. He said that it was “impossible” any of his sexual partners contracted the virus from him.
Sheen, who has publicly stated that he has a past with sex workers and substance abuse issues, also revealed he paid people in exchange for their silence on the matter.
Sheen’s doctor, UCLA’s Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine Dr Robert Huizenga appeared on Today with Sheen. He told Lauer the virus now cannot be detected in Sheen’s blood and that Sheen does not have AIDS.
“AIDS is a condition when the HIV virus markedly suppresses the immune system and you’re susceptible to rare, difficult cancers and infections,” Huizenga said.
“Charlie has none of those. He is healthy. He does not have AIDS.”
American LGBTI advocacy group GLAAD released a response to Sheen’s confession soon after the interview.
“To eradicate HIV once and for all, we must first eradicate the stigma attached to it,” GLAAD chief executive Sarah Kate Ellis said.
“Stigma prevents people from getting tested, it prevents people from getting treated, and it can contribute to increased rates of infection.
“In this new era of prevention and treatment, including methods like PrEP, the media must take this opportunity to end the stigma and shine light on the stories of more than 1.2 million Americans living full lives with HIV today.”
Sheen continued in the interview that he wanted his public admission to help end the stigma around HIV.
“I have a responsibility now to better myself and to help a lot of other people and hopefully with what we’re doing today others will come forward and say ‘thanks Charlie’,” he said.