Charlie Sheen comes forward with HIV diagnosis

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Charlie Sheen comes forward with HIV diagnosis

NEW YORK - Former “Two and a Half Men’’ star Charlie Sheen has HIV.

In an interview Tuesday on NBC’s “Today,’’ the 50-year-old actor said he tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS about four years ago, but that, thanks to a rigorous drug regimen, he’s healthy.

When asked by co-host Matt Lauer if he had transmitted the disease to others, he declared, “Impossible. Impossible,’’ and insisted he had informed every sexual partner of his condition beforehand.

Since his diagnosis he has had unprotected sex with only two partners, he said, adding, with no further clarification, “They were under the care of my doctor and they were completely warned ahead of time.’’

He said one reason for going public with his condition was to put a stop to shakedowns from prostitutes and others who threatened to out him. He said one prostitute took a photo of the HIV-related drugs in his medicine cabinet and threatened to sell that photo to the tabloids.

He said he had paid “enough to bring it into the millions’’ - perhaps as much as $10 million - to buy their silence and now was seeking to “put a stop to this barrage of attacks and sub-truths.’’

“Are you still paying these people?’’ Lauer asked him.

“Not after today I’m not,’’ said Sheen, who during his appearance appeared jumpy and spoke in stammering bursts.

He did not address when, and by whom, he may have been infected.

In the U.S., AIDS is spread mainly through having sex or sharing injection-drug equipment with someone who has HIV. About 1.2 million people in the U.S. are estimated to have HIV.

For part of the interview, Sheen was joined by his physician, Dr. Robert Huizenga, who said strong anti-viral drugs have suppressed the virus. The HIV level in Sheen’s blood is “undetectable,’’ Huizenga said, and flatly stated that he does not have AIDS. AP
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