US actor, Charlie Sheen has disclosed on live TV that he is HIV positive, following weeks of speculation about his condition.
“I am here to admit that I am in fact HIV positive and I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks, of sub-truths – very harmful … stories that are threatening the health of so many others,” the actor told NBC’s Today show on Tuesday.
He said he had learned about the diagnosis “roughly four years ago”, adding: “It’s a hard three letters to absorb.”
Asked whether he had transmitted HIV to anyone since his diagnosis, Sheen said: “Impossible.” He also said he was “not entirely” aware of how he contracted the virus. Sheen’s doctor, Robert Huizenga, told the program the actor did not have Aids.
Sheen claimed that people who knew his HIV-positive status had extorted money from him to keep it a secret.
And the Hollywood star said he would stop paying them now that his HIV status was public, adding: “I release myself from this prison today.”
The actor said one incident of extortion took place when a prostitute took a picture of his antiretroviral medication and threatened to sell it.
The actor’s health status has been an open secret in Hollywood in recent weeks, since the showbusiness website Radar Online published a report about a Hollywood “megastar” being HIV positive. The report did not name Sheen but contained enough clues to ensure he was quickly identified as the most likely subject.