After sitting down with Matt Lauer on Tuesday morning (Nov. 17) and announcing to the world that he is HIV-positive, actor Charlie Sheen has released an open letter to the public discussing his inner turmoil since being diagnosed with the virus, which he found out he contracted four years ago.
“Roughly four years ago, I suddenly found myself in the throws of a seismic and debilitating three-day cluster-migraine-like headache,” he started the letter. “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 care of his personal doctor, Dr. Robert Huizenga, Sheen said that he underwent many intense and draining treatments to make the virus less and less detectable, but the most difficult part was telling his family and loved ones. Amidst all of the new stress in his life, he turned to substance abuse and “fathomless drinking” in order to cope. He also associated with many people who didn’t have his personal struggles in mind, only his money.
Sheen is hoping that through publicly declaring his status, he will be able to reclaim his freedom and not have to pay people to keep his diagnosis a secret. He also hopes to spread awareness to the public to become an advocate for those suffering from the virus.
“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.”
Read the entire letter here.