Charlie Sheen appeared on the Today show Tuesday morning where he confirmed reports that he is HIV positive.
“I am in fact HIV positive,” Sheen said, disclosing that he was diagnosed roughly four years ago. “I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks of sub-truths and very, very harmful stories that are about threatening the health of so many others which couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
The former Two and a Half Men star sat down for a live interview with Today show anchor Matt Lauer, revealing that he’s paid people to keep his diagnosis quiet. “I think I released myself from this prison today,” he said.
Sheen said that he realized something was wrong when started getting “a series of cluster headaches,” and “sweating the bed.” He said he was hospitalized two to three nights in a row.
“I thought I had a brain tumor. I thought it was over,” Sheen told Lauer. “After a battery of tests, they walked in the room and said, ‘Boom, here is what’s going on.’ It’s a hard three letters to absorb. You know? It’s a turning point in one’s life.”
The actor said he’s not entirely sure how he contracted the disease.
Lauer read aloud a letter Sheen gave him prior to their interview. “In and around this perplexity of difficult time, I dazedly chose or hired the companionship of unsavory types,” he read. “Regardless of their saltless reputations, I always led with condoms and honesty when it came to my condition, say my truth became their treason as a deluge of blackmail and circus of deceit.”
When asked if he ever “knowingly or even perhaps unknowingly transmitted the HIV virus to someone else while you’ve had this,” Sheen insisted that was “impossible.”
The TV star did admit that he’s had unprotected sex since news of his diagnosis. “The two people who I did that with were under the care of my doctor and they were completely warned ahead of time,” he disclosed.
Sheen claimed that he’s been shaken down for money in exchange for keeping his secret. Lauer inquired, “Is it true that on at least one occasion you had a prostitute come over to your house who, after a sexual encounter, with a cell phone, took an image of your anti-retro virus medication and then threatened to sell that image to the tabloids?”
“Yes, that is after I told her thank you for your time and we are not gonna see each other anymore,” Sheen explained. “After she spent the day at the health food store buying me all the medications to help me.”
When Lauer asked why he allowed these people in his life, Sheen admitted that he was battling depression. “I was so depressed by the position I was in,” he said. “I was doing a lot of drugs and I was making really bad decisions. That part I know 100 percent.”
The actor hopes that by coming forward about his HIV status that he will help others do the same. “I have a responsibility now to better myself and to help a lot of other people,” he told Lauer. “And hopefully with what we’re doing today, others may come forward and say, ‘Thanks Charlie. Thanks for kicking the door open.'”