The Truth About Charlie Sheen's Experience With HIV

It's been more than six years since Charlie Sheen first opened up about his HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, diagnosis, but his journey with the virus hasn't been easy. In 2015, the Two and a Half Men star revealed on TODAY he was HIV positive, calling it a "turning point" in his life. At the time, Sheen, now 56, said he was positive for HIV, but did not have AIDS. He explained he wasn't sure how he contracted the virus, but told the show he was actually diagnosed four years prior.

According to, HIV spreads through certain body fluid contact with someone who has the virus. Typically, contact is through unprotected sex or sharing drug equipment, like needles. If left untreated, HIV can turn to AIDS, a life-threatening disease. Currently, there's no cure for HIV. However, antiretroviral therapy, or ART, is a form of HIV medicine that can help HIV patients live long lives.

When Sheen first announced his diagnosis, he revealed he was taking four pills each day to manage the virus. Because there's no cure, HIV patients must take medicine every day for the rest of their life to manage the virus. For Sheen, his concerns at the time were about relapsing into drug misuse and falling into a depression (via TODAY).

Charlie Sheen's HIV diagnosis

Before he told the press, Sheen wanted the diagnosis to stay a secret, so he paid more than $10 million to keep the news private. As time went on, however, the Platoon actor said he was ready to reveal his diagnosis in an effort to release himself "from this prison." Sheen says his symptoms started out with "a series of crushing headaches," leading him to think he had a brain tumor (via TODAY).

According to ABC News, Sheen recalled the day of his diagnosis clearly, adding his mom was by his side. "The day I was diagnosed, I immediately wanted to eat a bullet," Sheen told Good Morning America. "But my mom was there, I wouldn't do that in front of her, or let her find me to clean up that mess."

After that moment, Sheen said he felt something come over him. He was given medication, and then told he could go home, and that he would live. Since his HIV diagnosis, Sheen says most days have been good, but he does have his off days. He says he feels blessed to have access to health care, and even took part in a study for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for HIV treatment (via ABC News).