Actor Charlie Sheen is reportedly HIV-positive and will discuss the diagnosis Tuesday morning on NBC’s Today show, according to multiple published reports.
People magazine reported Monday afternoon that individuals close to Sheen approached Hollywood publicist and crisis manager Howard Bragman six months ago on ways to deal with the matter, but Bragman said he never dealt directly with Sheen.
“The interview could open up a lot of sympathy for him, but he has to be concerned about a fear of litigation from former sexual partners. You don’t take that lightly,” Bragman told the magazine. He added that the 50-year-old Sheen “is getting treatment, and a lot of people in his life know about it.”
Sheen has a history of substance abuse and has admitted to soliciting prostitutes in the past, People reported.
“It’s been going on for quite a while. He’s not necessarily comfortable talking about it. It was very hard to get up the courage for him to talk about it (HIV),” Bragman said.
Sheen’s diagnosis was first reported by the National Enquirer.
In a press release issued Monday, NBC said Sheen is set to make a “revealing personal announcement” on the Today show with co-host Matt Lauer.
Sheen’s ex-wife, actress Denise Richards, has known about his HIV infection for a “number of years,” according to Access Hollywood.
Richards, who has two daughters with Sheen, is not infected. Sheen reportedly contracted HIV — the virus that causes AIDS — after the couple’s divorce in 2006, Access Hollywood reported.
Dr. David Rosenthal is medical director of the Center for Young Adult, Adolescent and Pediatric HIV at
North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y. He said: “Today, patients with HIV can live almost normal lives, but they have to take their HIV medication daily and follow up with their physician on a regular basis.”
Rosenthal said many of the HIV treatments — called “combined antiretroviral therapy” — are one pill taken once a day. These pills combine multiple different medications into one pill.
“Since one person in seven in the U.S.A. that have HIV do not know that they have HIV, it is essential that patients get routine HIV testing as part of their regular medical care. The earlier we can diagnose a patient as being HIV positive, the less chance that patient can spread HIV to others, and the better chance that the person can start medications early and live a long, healthy life,” Rosenthal said.
Sheen, the son of actor Martin Sheen, starred in a series of hit movies in the 1980s and ’90s, including Platoon, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Wall Street.
In the 2000s, he starred in a series of TV shows, most notably Two and a Half Men, from which he was fired in 2011.
To learn more about HIV, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.