Charlie Sheen has admitted that he is HIV positive and said that he was diagnosed four years ago.
In an interview on NBC's The Today Show, Sheen said, "I am in fact HIV-positive. It's a hard three letters to absorb. It's a turning point in one's life."
The actor added that it started with a series of crushing headaches and he thought that he had a brain tumour, News.co.au reports.
The 50-year-old actor said that he had been betrayed as the people had demanded a lot of money to keep his illness a secret. He claimed that he paid approximately USD 14 million to ensure that nobody comes to know about his illness.
During the Sony hack, Sheen's health came to highlight when an email between executives linked to a story about him not being present on work days on the set of Anger Management, with the words: "It's hard to be a drug addict and be HIV positive and do 40 episodes a year."
Here's the open letter by the Two and a Half Men actor:
Roughly four years ago, I suddenly found myself in the throws of a seismic and debilitating three-day cluster-migraine-like headache. I was emergently hospitalized with what I believed to be a brain tumor or perhaps some unknown pathology. I was partially correct. Following a battery of endless tests, that included a hideous spinal tap, it was sadly and shockingly revealed to me that I was, in fact, positive for HIV.
The news was a "mule kick" to my soul. Those impossible words I absorbed and then tried to convince myself, that I was stuck, suspended, or even stranded inside some kind of alternate reality or nightmare, were to the absolute contrary. I was awake. It was true... reality.
Under the brilliant and perfect care of Dr. Robert Huizenga as well as "the" leading infectious disease expert in the known universe, I began a rigorous and intensive treatment program. Not missing a beat, a med dose, or one shred of guidance, quickly my viral loads became undetectable. Like every other challenge in my life, again, I was victorious and kicking this disease's ass. I wish my story had ended there. Unfortunately, for my family and myself, it had only just begun. (As quoted by today.com)
The personal disbelief, karmic confusion, shame and anger lead to a temporary yet abysmal descent into profound substance abuse and fathomless drinking. It was a suicide run. Problem was, I'd forgotten that I'm too tough for such a cowardly departure. Yet, despite this loathsome and horrific odyssey, I was vigilant with my anti-viral program.
My medical team could only shake their heads as each and every blood test returned levels revealing a state of remission. Even though I might have been trying to kill myself, one thing was radically evident; the disease was not.
In and around this perplexing and difficult time, I dazedly chose (or hired) the companionship of unsavory and insipid types. Regardless of their salt-less reputations, I always lead with condoms and honesty when it came to my condition. Sadly, my truth soon became their treason, as a deluge of blackmail and extortion took center stage in this circus of deceit.
To date, I have paid out countless millions to these desperate charlatans.
Check out a clip showing one of the most memorable on screen performances by Sheen here:
Locked in a vacuum of fear, I chose to allow their threats and skulduggery to vastly deplete future assets from my children, while my "secret" sat entombed in their hives of folly (or so I thought).
News Flash: This ends today. I'm claiming back my freedom. The scales of justice will swiftly and righteously re-balance themselves.
In conclusion, I accept this condition not as a curse or scourge, but rather as an opportunity and a challenge. An opportunity to help others. A challenge to better myself.
Every day, of every month, of every year, countless individuals go to work, man their stations, fulfill their professional obligations with a host of disabilities. Diseases, imperfections, hurdles, detours. These maladies range from lupus to cancer, from paralysis to blindness, from diabetes to obesity. "Treated," HIV is no different.
My partying days are behind me. My philanthropic days are ahead of me.
Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "Courage is grace under pressure."
I've served my time under pressure; I now embrace the courage, and the grace.
Love and peace, Charlie Sheen
Why did Charlie Sheen tell his girlfriend that he's HIV positive?
Meanwhile, in other news, after Charlie Sheen admitted to being HIV positive, his former girlfriend Bree Olson has claimed that the actor never told her he was HIV positive.
In an interview with Howard Stern, Olson said that she was living with him, they were sleeping together every single night, adding that Charlie never told her anything about his diagnosis and told her "I'm clean," News.com.au reports.
Olson, who left her career as an adult actor for him, claimed that Sheen also insisted to use lambskin condoms, which were less effective in preventing the transmission of STDs.
Earlier, the Hot Shot actor said that he had paid millions to people to keep quiet about it. However, Sheen claimed he had divulged his secret to every one of his sexual partners.
-- With inputs from ANI