Photo Credit: NBV
Although research towards a cure and our cultural acceptance of the disease have both come a long way, Charlie Sheen's announcement that he carries HIV shows that the stigma is still alive and well.
Sheen exclusively sat down on the Today Show with Matt Lauer to reveal his diagnosis and explain the troubling events that led to his appearance.
Sheen explained that he tried to keep the news within a close circle of trusted family and friends, but word eventually got out. Blackmailers who exploited Sheen's condition demanded that he pay up to prevent the information from getting out.
After paying upwards of $10 million in hush money, Sheen had had enough. In his interview with Lauer, Sheen explained, "I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks and of sub-truths 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."
Despite the actor's troubling past, friends and fans alike were quick to express their support and encouragement to Sheen on social media.
Good Luck @charliesheen Being a human is a complicated thing. I hope you can Find your path.Hope you can Find your peace..— Catherine (@RoxieKat) November 17, 2015
You have to give Charlie Sheen credit for coming out & admitting his condition on national television— That Witty Wife (@ThatWittyWife) November 17, 2015
Nothing but love for you @charliesheen you're still the best.— Kenan Bal (@KenanBal) November 17, 2015
Thanks to advances in medical research, HIV is no longer a death sentence. Although individuals who contract the virus must take anti-viral medicine every day, they usually go on to live long, healthy, relatively normal lives.