Along with formally announcing his HIV positive status on the Today Show with Matt Lauer, actor Charlie Sheen has released an open letter about his diagnosis.
Just days before the revelation, the Daily Mail reported that a “major Hollywood star has been diagnosed as HIV positive.” A porn star told the British tabloid that “four successful porn stars who had sex with the actor in recent years have disappeared from the porn film business – and she fears this may be because they contracted HIV.”
Roughly four years ago, I suddenly found myself in the throws of a seismic and debilitating three-day cluster-migraine-like headache. I was emergently hospitalized with what I believed to be a brain tumor or perhaps some unknown pathology. I was partially correct. Following a battery of endless tests, that included a hideous spinal tap, it was sadly and shockingly revealed to me that I was, in fact, positive for HIV.
The news was a “mule kick” to my soul. Those impossible words I absorbed and then tried to convince myself, that I was stuck, suspended, or even stranded inside some kind of alternate reality or nightmare, were to the absolute contrary. I was awake. It was true… reality.
Under the brilliant and perfect care of Dr. Robert Huizenga as well as “the” leading infectious disease expert in the known universe, I began a rigorous and intensive treatment program. Not missing a beat, a med dose, or one shred of guidance, quickly my viral loads became undetectable. Like every other challenge in my life, again, I was victorious and kicking this disease’s ass. I wish my story had ended there. Unfortunately, for my family and myself, it had only just begun.
The personal disbelief, karmic confusion, shame and anger lead to a temporary yet abysmal descent into profound substance abuse and fathomless drinking. It was a suicide run. Problem was, I’d forgotten that I’m too tough for such a cowardly departure. Yet, despite this loathsome and horrific odyssey, I was vigilant with my anti-viral program.
My medical team could only shake their heads as each and every blood test returned levels revealing a state of remission. Even though I might have been trying to kill myself, one thing was radically evident; the disease was not.
In and around this perplexing and difficult time, I dazedly chose (or hired) the companionship of unsavory and insipid types. Regardless of their salt-less reputations, I always lead with condoms and honesty when it came to my condition. Sadly, my truth soon became their treason, as a deluge of blackmail and extortion took center stage in this circus of deceit.
To date, I have paid out countless millions to these desperate charlatans.
Locked in a vacuum of fear, I chose to allow their threats and skulduggery to vastly deplete future assets from my children, while my “secret” sat entombed in their hives of folly (or so I thought).
News Flash: This ends today. I’m claiming back my freedom. The scales of justice will swiftly and righteously re-balance themselves.
In conclusion, I accept this condition not as a curse or scourge, but rather as an opportunity and a challenge. An opportunity to help others. A challenge to better myself.
Every day, of every month, of every year, countless individuals go to work, man their stations, fulfill their professional obligations with a host of disabilities. Diseases, imperfections, hurdles, detours. These maladies range from lupus to cancer, from paralysis to blindness, from diabetes to obesity. “Treated,” HIV is no different.
My partying days are behind me. My philanthropic days are ahead of me.
Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “Courage is grace under pressure.”
I’ve served my time under pressure; I now embrace the courage, and the grace.
Love and peace,Charlie Sheen
In the interview, Sheen told Lauer that he had initially paid people to keep his HIV status a secret. He estimated that he has paid upwards of $10 million to keep the news out of the headlines.
“I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks and of sub-truths and very harmful and mercurial stories that are about me, threatening the health of so many others that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Sheen said. “I trusted them and they were deep in my inner circle, and I thought they could be helpful. My trust turned to their treason.”
Sheen also admitted that he has had unprotected sex since his diagnosis, but that the two people involved were warned and that he has told all his sexual partners about his status. The actor, who has five children, was most recently connected with porn star Brett Rossi.
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