Charlie Sheen says he knows of other Hollywood actors who are secretly living with HIV.
The former Two and a Half Men star opened up about his HIV status last year, in a bid to end a “cycle” of blackmail, extortion and tabloid rumours. The actor said he had paid out millions to blackmailers to ensure the news remained secret before finally deciding to make his status public.
Sheen later caused controversy by pursuing “alternative” treatments with no scientific basis – increasing his risk of HIV transmission.
Sheen appeared on ‘The Kyle and Jackie O Show’ in Australia on Wednesday when he was asked: “Do you think there are more people in Hollywood that have HIV that wouldn’t dare come out and say it like you did?”
The actor said he was aware of celebrities who have not revealed their HIV status. He said: “There are, and I know who they are, but I will take that to my grave.”
In the interview, Sheen confirmed he is back on his HIV medication and treatment is working well.
Celebrities opening up about health conditions is one of the most effective drivers of public awareness, far exceeding the reach of traditional awareness campaigns.
Research previously found that Sheen’s admission has massively boosted public awareness of HIV/AIDS, and that the announcement was many times more effective than many public health initiatives.
Professor John Ayers, from San Diego State University detailed the effect in the Journal of the American Medical Association, noting that HIV-related Google searches surged by more than 400 percent on the day Sheen revealed his HIV status, with 2.75 million extra searches
Searches as “HIV testing” and “find HIV testing” increased by over 214%, while searches for HIV symptoms increased by 540%.
Sexual health related searches, such as looking to get condoms, were also massively up.