I'm happy Charlie Sheen got this enormous weight off his chest, and I hope he -- and the other people whose lives he may have affected -- all get the treatment they need. For better or worse, this is a huge day for progress. Watch his "Today" show interview HERE.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center issued this statement about the news:
“We must end the shame that causes people to conceal the fact that they’re HIV-positive. Thirty-four years into the epidemic, treatments for HIV have advanced considerably, but perceptions regarding people who are positive haven’t. So it’s no surprise, yet still very sad, to learn that even someone as privileged as Charlie Sheen felt the need to hide his status for years.
To help reduce stigma, we need to talk about HIV and we need to get educated, but as a society, we don’t do that very much. Here at the Center, we continue to hear horror stories from HIV-positive clients who face rejection and shaming from people who learn their status. Much of the reaction and media reports before and after Sheen’s announcement reveal how much people still have to learn about HIV.
One of the most serious side effects of HIV stigma is that it deters people from wanting to learn their status, robbing them of the opportunity to get the treatment that’s so important to protecting their heath and the health of their sexual partners. Alarmingly, one out of seven people who are HIV-positive today don’t know it. What’s even more alarming is that only 1 in 5 young gay/bisexual men have ever been tested, and they—particularly young men of color—along with transgender women, have the highest risk of HIV infection.”