“It’s a hard three letters to absorb. It’s a turning point in one’s life,” the 50-year-old actor said.
Charlie Sheen came on The Today Show and revealed a very intimate part of his life; one that he didn’t have to share, one that he hadn’t made public since his diagnosis. Today, Charlie Sheen announced that he has been living with HIV for four years.
He felt that he had to get to put a stop to the attacks and sub-truths that were going around; one that said multiple women in Hollywood were at risk for the disease now as a male celebrity knowingly infected women on his quest to sleep with as many as he could.
Sheen feels that he’s been the victim of betrayal and extortion as he told people that he felt he could trust at the time that have since revealed his personal diagnosis to the media. People who existed in his inner circle even demanded money from him to stay silent – people he slept with who found out about his status threatened to tell the world unless they were paid off.
The seriousness of this isn’t fully understood.
People demanded money from a man and his family for no other reason than to stay quiet about very private information that was in no way, shape, form, or fashion – theirs to share.
One of the women Sheen slept with even went into his bathroom and snapped a photo of his anti retroviral medication and threatened to sell the image to the media.
These are people who took advantage of a man who was in a depression – newly diagnosed with a life changing disease – and preyed upon him.
Sheen is nervous as he talks to Matt Lauer who brings up that after he knew this behavior was going on through the ‘unsavory’ people in his life that he kept letting it happen in which Sheen admits that it’s his reason. He states his depression and his drug/alcohol use aided in this bad decision making process and he takes full responsibility for it.
Lauer asks if it’s possible that he knowingly or unknowingly spread the disease to anyone since his diagnosis and Sheen replied that it was impossible. He did say that he slept with two women, unprotected, since he found out he was living with HIV but they were under the care of his medical professional and were warned ahead of time. Sheen also says he admits that he’s told every sexual partner he had since his diagnosis about his HIV status before he’d slept with them.
Sheen says he can’t sit where he is today and say 100% where he got the virus from but it did – for a time – bring him a lot of shame and anger in which he descended into drug and alcohol abuse.
Matt Lauer brings up the stigma around HIV and Charlie says he no longer feels the stigma and instead feels a responsibility to better himself and to help people in the process. He says he hopes with this today others will come forward and say thanks for kicking the door open and hopefully will come forward, without shame, about their own struggles with HIV.
Sheen’s doctor, along with Lauer, say that people can live long and healthy lives with HIV in this day and age. His doctor states that what he worries about more than his HIV is his depression and substance abuse shortening his life. Sheen’s levels are undetectable in his blood and he does not have AIDS; his doctor credits this to the way that he’s continued to constantly has taken his medication even in the throws of his depression.
Unfortunately, HIV is a disease that will remain with stigma until more people speak out about it and are willing to honestly admit their status’ with HIV as well. We think Charlie opening himself up and being honest about his diagnosis will allow other people to find strength to do the same.