LOS ANGELES — In an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's "Today" show this morning, Charlie Sheen revealed that he was diagnosed HIV positive in 2011, and has paid people up to $10 million over the past 4 years to keep them from sharing his illness.
"I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks and of subtruths 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," said Sheen.
His revelations follow a report in the Daily Mail Online last week, where an unnamed adult film actress said she and 50 other industry performers had sex with an unspecified HIV-positive Hollywood actor.
However, the Free Speech Coalition told XBIZ that no adult performers have tested HIV positive in their Performer Availability Screening Services, which maintains STI results for adult film professionals.
During the interview, Sheen said he had shared his HIV diagnosis with all of his sexual partners ahead of time, including two people with whom he engaged in unprotected sex. He also told ex-wives Denise Richards and Brooke Mueller.
Adult film actress Bree Olson, an ex-girlfriend of Sheen, disputed his openness on "The Howard Stern Show" today. "[He] never said anything, ever," Olson said. "'I'm clean,' he told me." She told Stern that Sheen used lambskin condoms, which do not prevent the transmission of HIV. "I am so upset," she added. "He doesn't even value my life." Olson also informed Stern that she does not have HIV, sharing a clean bill of health with him.
HIV weakens the immune system and can lead to AIDS, a condition marked by extreme vulnerability to deadly infections and cancers. Neither HIV nor AIDS is curable, but HIV can be managed with a lifetime of antiviral drugs. Sheen said he takes four pills daily to treat his HIV and was joined during the interview by his doctor, Robert Huizenga, an associate professor of clinical medicine at UCLA. Huizenga said Sheen currently had an "undetectable level" of HIV in his blood and confirmed there is no sign of AIDS.
Moving forward, the actor hopes to raise greater awareness for the illness and pursue other acting opportunities. "If there was one guy on this planet to contract this that's going to deliver a cure, it's me. It's me. Seriously," Sheen said. "I'm not going to be the poster man for this, but I will not shun away from responsibilities and opportunities that drive me to helping others."