The television star Charlie Sheen revealed his H.I.V.-positive status on Tuesday during a live interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today” show.
“I am in fact H.I.V.-positive,” he said.
Mr. Sheen said he had known about the diagnosis for about four years and at first thought that he had a brain tumor. “It is a hard three letters to absorb,” he said. He mentioned not knowing how he contracted the disease.
“I was doing a lot of drugs,” he said. “I was drinking way too much. I was making a lot of bad decisions.”
Sex while HIV+
Mr. Sheen said that he did not think it was possible that he had transmitted the disease to others. He said that he had unprotected sex with two people, but that he was under the care of doctors at the time. He said that he has told every one of his sex partners about his diagnosis.
A brief Background
Over the years, Mr. Sheen, 50, has acknowledged extensive drug use and the hiring of prostitutes. His personal life became the focus of global media attention in 2011 after he had a drug-fueled public meltdown, and CBS was forced to shut down production of his hit sitcom, “Two and a Half Men.”
Mr. Sheen was fired from the series, but he quickly returned with the FX comedy “Anger Management.” That series has since been canceled. Hollywood databases indicate that Mr. Sheen has no current television or movie projects.
The gossip site Radar.com set off speculation earlier this month when it published a lengthy post about an unnamed actor’s H.I.V.-positive diagnosis. Other celebrity websites followed with their own reports — without naming the actor — but The National Enquirer on Monday identified the star as Charlie Sheen. Other media companies, including People Magazine and Radar, then did the same.
His Doctor’s expert opinion
Mr. Sheen’s doctor, Robert Huizenga, joined him during one segment of the interview. Dr. Huizenga is an associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Dr. Huizenga said that he had known Mr. Sheen for five or six years, and that Mr. Sheen was immediately put on treatment when he contracted H.I.V. He said that the treatment had suppressed the virus and the Mr. Sheen was “absolutely healthy,” but that his biggest concern was depression and substance abuse.
Dr. Huizenga confirmed that Mr. Sheen had an “undetectable level of the virus” in his blood and did not have AIDS.
Mr. Sheen said that he was on the “triple cocktail” of H.I.V. medications and takes four pills a day. He said that he was not doing drugs but was still drinking a little bit.
Asked whether Mr. Sheen could be trusted to take medication in an impaired state, Dr. Huizenga said that it was a worry that if Mr. Sheen were overly depressed, he would forget to take his pills. “We’re petrified about Charlie,” he said.
Mr. Sheen said that since his diagnosis, he has never missed taking his medication.
When asked whether he would stop drinking, Mr. Sheen said that “perhaps the freedom of today may lead to that as well.”
HIV should not be stigmatised. With proper nutrition, a healthy lifestyle and taking antiretroviral medication, people infected live very long healthy lives. I have written extensively on HIV on this blog. To learn more about signs and symptoms of HIV click here
There are many different ways that you might catch HIV, but the main ones are having unprotected sex or sharing needles or syringes.
HIV is transmitted via blood, not saliva, but it is possible to catch HIV through unprotected oral sex (although the risk is much lower than with vaginal or anal sex).
Once infected, the virus attacks the person’s immune system, making them more prone to other infections and diseases.
There is no cure for HIV, but there are treatments that mean people with the virus can live a long and healthy life.
The best way to prevent HIV is to use a condom for sex and to never share needles or other injecting equipment.