During an interview this morning with Today Show anchor Matt Lauer, Sheen said he has known about his status for four years, and has been extorted out of millions of dollars by several different people in return for them keeping his condition a secret. During one extortion incident, Sheen said, a sex worker took a picture of his antiretroviral medications and threatened to sell it. When Lauer asked why Sheen continued hiring sex workers knowing his privacy was at risk, Sheen explained it was because he was depressed.
There’s really never been anything genuinely entertaining about Charlie Sheen’s public struggle with drug addiction and mental illness, and there’s nothing entertaining about his announcement. It’s just grim news all around. Let us hope for a future in which people can be honest about their HIV status without facing social isolation, and that the science of HIV/AIDS treatment continues to progress.