Charlie Sheen sat down with Matt Lauer earlier today to publicly reveal his status as a person living with HIV. This personal announcement was only the start, and the interview also gave Sheen an opportunity to dispel the rumors running rampant ever since a blind item not-so-subtly exposed the actor earlier this month.
This was the first time we've heard Sheen discuss his current reality in his own words. Here are seven crucial things that he wanted us to learn.
1. He's been living with HIV for roughly four years
He had no idea what was happening to him until cluster headaches, insane migraines, and sweating the bed drove him to seek a doctor's opinion. Before getting the official diagnosis, he thought it was a fatal brain tumor.
2. He says it's "impossible" he could have transmitted HIV to others
Sheen admonishes the "harmful and mercurial stories" about how he put many unknowing victims at risk of contracting HIV. He steadfastly maintains that he did not infect anyone.
3. He has paid people millions of dollars to keep his secret
Sheen trusted a small group of people and disclosed his HIV status to them, only to turn around and find them blackmailing him for money. He hopes that revealing this truth will mean he doesn't need to make these payments anymore.
4. A prostitute took a picture of his medication and threatened to sell it to a tabloid
She was in his bathroom and documented antiretroviral drugs in order to extort money out of him.
5. He has had unprotected sex since his diagnosis
Sheen claims that the two people he slept with were under the care of his doctor and completely warned ahead of time. Some media outlets have wondered what he means by "under the care of his doctor" and why that means anti-transmission protocol could be forgotten, but Sheen did not address that in this interview.
6. He claims he informed all of his sexual partners of his status before any sexual act took place
He assures Lauer that all these women were informed, and there were "no exceptions."
7. His diagnosis came on the heels of his public meltdown
Matt Lauer asked Sheen directly if his response to his diagnosis played out in front of the cameras during his outrageous interviews in 2011. The actor confesses that he wish he could blame the talk of Tiger's Blood and winning on that, but he admits that was due more to " 'roid rage."
Though Sheen is adamant that he does not want to be a poster child for this illness, after this interview, he's committed to the responsibility of helping others.