In a recent interview, Charlie Sheen came onto the “Today” show and confirmed the rumors that were circulating on several news-reporting websites: he is HIV positive.
CNN Money, a source with direct knowledge of the interview, released the statement that Sheen would be “making a ‘revealing personal announcement’ on the ‘Today’ show” the following Tuesday morning. Within minutes, a flurry of new reports were posted online claiming that the “personal announcement” the 50-year-old actor was to declare was that he was HIV positive.
This news quickly turned into the number-one trending topic on Twitter and set off all of the other social media sites.
According to the New York Times, Sheen stated that he had known of his illness for about four years and that several others were attempting to blackmail him and leak his condition to the press within the four-year span. The actor claims that he ended up paying millions of dollars to those threatening to release his condition to the public because he wanted to keep his illness quiet.
“Regardless of their saltless reputations, I always lead with condoms and honesty when it came to my condition,” he said. “Sadly, my truth soon became their treason, as a deluge of blackmail and extortion took center stage in this circus of deceit.”
In his “Today” show interview, Sheen said that his HIV symptoms began with the onset of cluster headaches, migraines, and body sweats while sleeping.
Eventually, his symptoms became so severe that he ended up being hospitalized for several nights in a row. After he was diagnosed, Sheen eventually spiraled downward into heavy substance abuse and alcoholism as forms of escapism.
He struggled to cope with his condition for years, but now, after finally revealing his truth to the world, he hopes to free himself from the inner turmoil he has carried with him since his diagnosis.
“I think that I release myself from this prison today,” said Sheen.
Despite the liberation that Charlie sought to experience after revealing his condition to the public, several issues have ascended with the media since the news reports put out that Charlie Sheen was IV positive.
According to CNN Money, “AIDS activists made the case that the news report violated Sheen’s privacy.”
Furthermore, they claimed that the reports highlighted the tremendous stigma associated with those who are HIV positive.
Although the news reporters may have broken civilian laws by releasing the news of Sheen’s illness to the public before he announced it himself, health professionals pointed out that since the reporters are not health professionals themselves, they are not bound by the rules of HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
“HIPAA is very highly regulated,” said Marilyn Keen from the Boettcher Health Center. “I am not sure about the civilian laws they may have broken, but non-medical personnel in society do not have to follow HIPAA.”