Even though, there has been breakthroughs over the years in the fight against HIV and AIDS and the fact that people are living much longer than what was once thought to be no more than 10 years, still I have to give proves to Charlie Sheen for for sitting down with Mathew Lauer on the Today’s Show and opening up to everyone that he is HIV+. I must admit I have always been a fan of his acting and while his former TV show, 2 1/2 Men was practically a clone of Mr. Sheen’s life; from hookers and escorts, to drugs, alcohol and gambling, it is not a far stretch to assume that he would eventually contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD). And, while I do admirer him for coming out about his health status–as an activist, I have to think of the innocent (and those not so innocent) sexual partners who could have unknowingly contracted HIV or AIDS as well. Notwithstanding, I feel that it is only fair to be an activist for those with HIV and AIDS who have been branded by society as some type of stigma.
Reportedly, Mr. Sheen came forward with the big announcement that he has been HIV+ for nearly 4-years now and he is openly talking about his medical condition in an effort to take a stand against so many people who have been blackmailing him for years with threats to go public if he did not pay up.Yet, I cannot help but wonder if this a stunt so that he no longer has to inform future and past sexual partners of his current health status; because if he thinks this way, then he is sadly mistaken. By federal law, handed down through the Department of Health and Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), anyone who has tested positive for HIV and/or AIDS is required by laws to inform any future or former partners of their positive diagnosis and failure to do so, can be considered a criminal act. For more information pertaining to these laws in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, click here [x]. Each states have different classifications from misdemeanors to felonies.
According to Mr. Sheen, he believes that many people have blown his health diagnosis out of the water and claims it is actually under control despite others claiming it is not. If he is playing God with the lives of others, then that is a different story. However, for those people who have been ranting that he should never have sexual relations ever again out of fear that he will infect others who do not have HIV or AIDS is just the hypocrisy of the uneducated.
Fact check, there are some illnesses and disorders that the public do not need to know whether it be cancer, MS, Bipolar, Parkinson, HIV positive, etc. People would rather talk behind their backs in shame and ridicule rather than offer them the support they need instead. That said, the only people who should about someone’s medical conditions are their friends and family members (if the person wishes them to know) and those who may be infected and future partners as required by health laws. If not, then they can face a slew of criminal assault charged. Some jurisdictions set the classification from assault and battery to premeditated murder if it can be proven that the infected person was aware of their diagnosis and knowingly withheld the truth from future partners. One reason for remaining confidential from the eyes of the media and social networking is for the simple reason that they tend to associate people with HIV/AIDS as leprosy and place a stigma on them. People go into panic mode.
Even today, I overheard a group of people talking about Mr. Sheen’s news and they made comments like, “If I sit on a toilet seat that someone with HIV recently did, then I can catch it [HIV] too.” ; “If I kiss someone with HIV, then I will catch it to through the saliva.” ; “Did you know if you drink from the same glass as someone with HIV or AIDS then you can get it too?” ; “Only gays or IV drug users can contract HIV!” Is it just me, or did people from the 80/90’s when these types of questions were the typical every day questions and comments that they somehow skipped over the last 15-20 years when many of these types of questions were debunked? For the record, sharing the same drinking glass with someone who has mono can be transmitted.
In 1991, former NBA legend, Magic Johnson contracted HIV through a heterosexual relationship from his infected partner. He went public in an effort to educate the minds’ of many who thought that only people who engaged in homosexual relationships or were IV drug users could contract the disease and he wanted to educate those who believed that heterosexual relationships were free from the disease. Who remembers this logic–I remember in the 80’s and 90’s that was typically taught in health classes, biology classes, and in other related classes; even though you may be a heterosexual male or female and you have tested negative for every STD known to man if you engage in sexual intercourse or oral sex with another heterosexual partner; you are not just engaging with that person but every single person they ever had sexual relations with; as they were engaged in every sexual relation their partners were with. Therefore, if you represent A and have sexual relations with B but B has had sex with C, D, E, and F. They B could have contracted an STD from C, D, E, F; who could have contracted it from their own A, B, C, D . . .
In 1984, Ryan White, 12, contracted HIV from a blood transfusion. He was not an IV drug user and was not believed to be sexually active. He died at age 18. Former raper, EAZY-E of the 80’s and 90’s rap group, NWA contracted HIV and later died of AIDS. It is believed that he contracted the illness from an Acupuncture needle. In 1991, at the age of 45, rock legend, Freddie Mercury of the band, Queen died as the result of AIDS related pneumonia. He was gay but this does not in anyway suggest that he deserved to contract the virus. For other celebrities with HIV/AIDS click here [X]
As for Charlie Sheen, he hoped that he could keep his health diagnosis private but he claimed that people had been blackmailing him for years with threats to go public about his illness. He has paid around $10 million in bribes and is worried that not only will he be bled dry over those blackmailers but that he would not have any money left for his children and grand children.
“That’s my goal. That’s not my only goal. I think I release myself from this prison today.”
— Charlie Sheen
According to Mr. Sheen, he has no clue who he contracted the virus from and since his diagnosis he has only had unprotected sex with two women and he informed them of his change in health status. He has admitted publicly over the years that he has done his share of drugs but he is adamant that he never used IV drugs. His medical doctor did confirm that Mr. Sheen has HIV but does not have AIDS. This disease is no longer the death sentence once believed by so many to be. There are medications on the market to help prolong life. When Magic Johnson was diagnosed, he was believed to live no longer than 10-years and it has been nearly 25-years. There is no need for mass panic.
Even today, the CDC confirms that the highest probability of contracting the virus these days is through a blood transfusion; followed by contracting through unprotected sex, and then in a close third, through the use of IV drug use or an accidental needle stick by a health professional.
Contracting HIV Myths
- Cannot be contracted by breathing the same air
- Cannot be contracted by drinking from water fountains
- Cannot be contracted by using a toilet seat
- Cannot be contracted by hugging
- Cannot be contracted by shaking hands
- Cannot be contracted by sharing forks, knives, spoons
- Cannot be contracted by using gym equipment
- Cannot be contracted by touching someone (unless both have an open wound that touches each others. There is a slight chance)
- Cannot be contracted by wiping tears from the face of another
- Cannot be contracted by sweat or saliva