"Two and a Half Men" American actor Charlie Sheen confirmed on a national TV show that he is HIV-positive.
During his interview with Today show's Matt Lauer, Sheen expressed that his action to go public was propelled by various reasons. One of them involved a blackmail scheme amounting to $10 million since his HIV diagnosis four years ago.
Sheen had been the topic of numerous blind item tabloid stories recently. One of the prostitutes he hired took a photo of his antiretroviral HIV drug in the bathroom. The prostitute threatened to sell the images to the media. It wasn't the first incident. Several prostitutes he hired in the past years extorted him over his secret.
"What people forget is that's money they're taking from my children. They think it's just me, but I've got five kids and a granddaughter. I release myself from this prison today," said Sheen who admitted that his depression pushed him towards alcohol and drug abuse. This lead to him hiring more prostitutes, some of whom used the same extortion scheme.
Sheen added that he had been responsible with all of his partners, telling them that he is HIV-positive prior to any sexual activity. He used a combination of 'condoms and honesty' so it would be unlikely that he had passed the virus to his sexual partners. He was involved in unprotected sex with two partners. However, they were aware of his condition and were under a physician's care.
The American actor expressed that he is at loss about how he got the virus. However, he said it would be unlikely that he got it with needles. Sheen shared that among all the blind item tabloid stories he had read so far, the one that said he had AIDS and was intentionally spreading the virus hit home the hardest.
"Charlie does not have AIDS," said Charlie's physician, Dr. Robert Huizenga. "AIDS is a condition where the HIV virus markedly suppresses the immune system and you're susceptible to rare, difficult cancers and infections. Charlie has none of those. He is healthy ... he does not have AIDS."
Sheen said he will not be a 'poster man' for HIV. However, he expressed that he will not turn his back on opportunities and responsibilities that would enable him to help others suffering from the same diagnosis. When it comes to HIV talks, Sheen said he will be careful and respectful in picking his spots.
Photo: Joella Marano | Flickr