While scientists seeking a cure for HIV/Aids have announced that a drug designed to combat alcoholism may be the key, actor Charlie Sheen has declared that he’s ‘HIV-free’.
In a tell-all interview conducted with Today show host Matt Lauer overnight, Sheen revealed that he had been HIV-positive for more than two years but after treating the disease with medication, his latest blood tests reveal it is now “undetectable” in his system.
“I release myself from this prison today,” he said.
The 50-year-old actor had reportedly known about this condition for a year, but chose to keep it secret. He told Lauer that he had paid out “millions” to some “unsavoury types” to keep their silence, but in the end, his trust was broken and the story was circulated through media channels.
When Lauer asked whether it was possible Sheen had passed on the disease, knowingly or unknowingly, to another partner, Sheen replied that it was “impossible”. He also stated that he had informed every sexual partner of his condition, including his ex-wives Denise Richards, and Brooke Mueller. He stated he had no knowledge of his condition for a year, as he did not have any symptoms.
However, the infamous womaniser, who has bragged about sleeping with over 5000 women, now faces legal action. He has been contacted by several former partners who claim they had no knowledge of his HIV status. There are also reports that police will investigate the matter of whether Sheen knowingly slept with women while being HIV-positive.
It isn’t yet known what drugs Sheen was supposedly taking for his illness.
Meanwhile, scientists say a drug called Antabuse, known generically as disulfiram, may provide other HIV-positive patients with hope. The results of a trial, which were published in The Lancet HIV journal on Monday, tested the drug on 30 HIV-positive patients in Australia and the US. It was discovered that “dormant HIV was activated” with the use of Antabuse.
The scientists also say that activating the virus in dormant cells will prove necessary to destroying it, but they are yet to find the most effective combination of drugs.
When it comes to Charlie Sheen, I’m probably as far removed from being a fan as you’ll meet.
This is a man who has repeatedly made terrible choices in life: drinking and taking drugs to excess (resulting in a stroke after overdosing on cocaine in 1998); being arrested for assaulting his former wife, Brooke Mueller in 2009 and being known as one of Hollywood’s most notorious womanisers.
To me, men like Sheen are representative of the excess of wealth and ego that we know exists in Hollywood. If I were the type to believe in karma (which I’m not) this news, sadly, wouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
Still, it must have been terrible for him when he was first diagnosed with HIV. Where might his thoughts have gone in the days following? What would he have feared? But my sympathies are with those he shared intimacies with prior to the discovery.
In California, it’s a crime to hide your HIV status, and Sheen could be facing criminal charges and possible jail time if the allegations turn out to be true.
Medical break-throughs happen every day. The discovery that the Antabuse drug could be instrumental in treating HIV is promising. I hope that it benefits many HIV patients and the disease can one day be eliminated altogether. But it can only happen if those currently infected don’t continue to spread it.
In Hollywood, as in life, there are three sides to every story: your side, their side and the truth. It’s too early to know whether Sheen did knowingly expose women to HIV, but his track record of making bad decisions doesn’t weigh in his favour. We will just have to wait and find out what comes of this story in the next few months.
Were you surprised to learn Charlie Sheen was HIV-positive? What’s your opinion on what might happen with this case? Was he wrong to conceal his condition for so long?