Bringing an end to public rumors and speculations as to the identity of the wantonly promiscuous HIV-infected”superstar” actor who is said to favor sex with prostitutes and porn stars, as well as transsexuals, Charlie Sheen admitted on NBC’s “Today” this morning that he has HIV.
Frazier Moore reports for the AP that Sheen said he tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS about four years ago. But when asked by “Today” co-host Matt Lauer if he had transmitted the disease to others, he declared, “Impossible. Impossible.”
He said one reason for going public with his condition was to put a stop to shakedowns from prostitutes and others who threatened to out him. He said he had paid “enough to bring it into the millions” – perhaps as much as $10 million – to buy their silence and now was seeking to “put a stop to this barrage of attacks and sub-truths.”
He said one prostitute took a photo of the HIV-related drugs in his medicine cabinet and threatened to sell it to the tabloids.
Lauer asked Sheen if he’s still “paying these people.” Sheen replied, “Not after today I’m not.”
Sheen said that by going public, he hopes to reduce the stigma still felt by some diagnosed with HIV: “I have a responsibility now to better myself and to help a lot of other people. And hopefully with what we’re doing today, others may come forward and say, ‘Thanks, Charlie, for kicking the door open.'”
The disclosure was only the latest chapter in Sheen’s headline-seizing behavior.
He once revealed that he had spent more than $50,000 as a client of “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss’ prostitution ring. In 2011, Sheen’s drug and alcohol use led to his being fired from CBS’ “Two and a Half Men” — which made him one of TV’s highest-paid actors and at its peak was TV’s most-watched sitcom — after an explosive meltdown that included calling the show’s producer “a contaminated little maggot.”
Sheen has been married and divorced three times — to model Donna Peele, actress Denise Richards with whom he has two daughters, and obscure actress and real estate investor Brooke Mueller, with whom he has two sons.
A FOTM reader remarked that HIV is “just a chronic medical condition” and should not have a “stigma” attached. This is my response:
“Just a chronic medical condition”?
You make HIV, the precursor to AIDS, sound like a seasonal allergy to pollen, also “a chronic medical condition”. The stigma attached to HIV/AIDS is well-deserved because HIV infection is:
- Serious business: It means the body’s entire immune system is now compromised, which means T-cells — the body’s natural immune-fighters — no longer work as they are designed by our Creator.
- A transmitted disease, usually via sexual intercourse. If the U.S. were a sane rational country, people with a transmissible disease would be monitored and knowingly transmitting such diseases would be a crime.
There are 3 stages of HIV infection. Here’s the CDC’s description of stage one, Acute HIV Infection Stage:
Within 2-4 weeks after HIV infection, many, but not all, people develop flu-like symptoms, often described as “the worst flu ever.” Symptoms can include fever, swollen glands, sore throat, rash, muscle and joint aches and pains, and headache. This is called “acute retroviral syndrome” (ARS) or “primary HIV infection,” and it’s the body’s natural response to the HIV infection. During this early period of infection, large amounts of virus are being produced in your body. The virus uses CD4 count to replicate and destroys them in the process. Because of this, your CD4 cells can fall rapidly. Eventually your immune response will begin to bring the level of virus in your body back down to a level called a viral set point, which is a relatively stable level of virus in your body. At this point, your CD4 count begins to increase, but it may not return to pre-infection levels. It may be particularly beneficial to your health to begin ART during this stage. During the acute HIV infection stage, you are at high risk of transmitting HIV to your sexual or drug using partners because the levels of HIV in your blood stream are very high. For this reason, it is very important to take steps to reduce your risk of transmission.
Note: CD4 refers to the glycoprotein found on the surface of our body’s immune cells such as T helper cells, monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells.
Here are the physical changes to the body of the HIV-infected:
1. Body Fat Changes: Some medications taken to control HIV cause changes in the way your body produces, uses, and stores fat. These changes are called lipodystrophy. This condition causes you to gain or lose fat in particular parts of your body.
You can get extra fat in the following places: abdomen, neck, breasts (both men and women), face. In addition, you can also develop small deposits of fat, called lipomas, elsewhere on your body. Other changes can occur when the fat under your skin (called subcutaneous fat) is lost. This can occur in your face, arms, legs, buttocks. It is important to note that these changes in the way your body handles fat can also coincide with changes in cholesterol, an increase in triglycerides, increases in blood sugar, and lowered sensitivity to insulin, which may lead to diabetes.
2. Wasting Syndrome: The involuntary loss of more than 10% of your body weight, in addition to more than 30 days of either diarrhea or weakness and fever. Wasting refers to a loss of muscle mass, although part of the weight loss may also be due to loss of fat. HIV-associated wasting syndrome is considered an AIDS-defining condition. While this is often a sign of late stage disease, wasting syndrome can be treated by proper diet, medications to stimulate appetite, medications to control diarrhea, hormonal therapy to build muscle.
The body changes of an HIV-infected person would explain why Charlie Sheen, only 50 years old and even with cosmetic help like makeup and hair dye, looks so dreadful — changes to his appearance that are noticeable beginning about 2-3 years ago.
To no one’s surprise, at least six women have lawyered up in the last 24 hours and plan to sue Charlie Sheen for intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud, sexual battery … and more are on the way. A prominent Los Angeles lawyer tells TMZ, the 6 women contacted him Monday, and he has appointments with 4 more today.
The women claim they had both protected and unprotected sex with Sheen, as recently as last month, and he did not disclose his HIV status.
A source directly connected with Sheen says in the last 2 years, Sheen has had at least 200 partners, so the number of women who either will sue or plan to sue will almost certainly grow exponentially.
Reportedly, Sheen was diagnosed with HIV 4 years ago. (TMZ)
H/t FOTM’s MomOfIV
UPDATE (Nov. 19, 2015):