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Charlie Sheen HIV Revelation Raises Serious Criminal Questions

Charlie Sheen recently came forward about being HIV positive for the past four years. The shocking revelation, by his own admission, was in an effort to stop blackmail attempts being made by certain individuals close to him who found out, one way or another, about his health. In exchange for remaining silent, the extortionists allegedly received millions of dollars from Sheen, and yet it remains unclear who is in the wrong.

In an exclusive interview with The Today Show, Sheen explained to Matt Lauer that he had unprotected sexual intercourse with more than one person while he knew he had HIV. Sheen claims that he disclosed this information to his partners — a claim that has subsequently been challenged by multiple women who deny he disclosed his HIV status to them. Even Sheen’s Two and a Half Men co-star Jenny McCarthy expressed alarm at the revelation, accusing him of negligence for failing to inform her he had the virus while they pretended to be lovers on the show.

Presumably at the word of his doctor, Sheen adamantly claims that despite having unprotected sex with these people, transmitting the virus would have been “impossible”. Whether this is due to the tiger blood running through his veins, or the cocktail of prescription medications keeping him alive is uncertain, though the actor seems to be convinced that no one’s life has been put in danger.

To ward off the negative affects of the virus, Sheen said that he takes four pills every day — and he will need to do so for the rest of his life. Thanks to his drug cocktail, Sheen says the virus is at “undetectable” levels in his body. His doctor agrees with this, saying that the biggest threat to Sheen’s life isn’t the HIV, but the potential relapse into drug abuse and depression.

HIV not as deadly as it once was, at least to those who have access to proper treatment. Thanks to advances in HIV drugs, many are able to live long, normal lives, even with the virus, which was much more deadly two decades ago. Yet despite advances in treatment, a stigma is still attached with the disease, a stigma earned due to the fact HIV (which can turn into AIDS) is still the second highest worldwide leading cause of death, surpassed by only tuberculosis.

With the high rate of death, should failure to disclose HIV be considered a crime? It turns out, it already is. In California, failure to disclose HIV status to a sexual partner is in fact a felony.

There have also been instances where criminal convictions were handed out for much less, including a 35-year sentence delivered to an HIV-positive inmate who spit at a prison guard. The inmate was convicted of attempted murder and criminal exposure of HIV for the act. In this case, HIV-positive spit was considered a “deadly weapon” even though HIV transmission through saliva is nearly impossible. Similar cases of people without HIV spitting resulted in probation and community service.

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