Sheen revealed his diagnosis during an extensive interview with Matt Lauer on Today Tuesday morning. In his letter, the actor reiterated several points, such as the cluster headaches that hospitalized him in the first place and rigid treatment regimen he began after discovering he was HIV-positive.
“Not missing a beat, a med dose, or one shred of guidance, quickly my viral loads became undetectable,” Sheen wrote. “Like every other challenge in my life, again, I was victorious and kicking this disease’s ass.”
Still, the shock of the diagnosis sent Sheen into a downward spiral, a “suicide run,” as he called it, marked by extensive drinking and drug use (based on the actor’s four-year time frame, this would match up with his infamous 2011 meltdown and dismissal from Two and a Half Men).
Despite such destructive behavior, Sheen remained dedicated to his anti-viral treatment, amazing his doctors as his blood tests continued to show a state of remission. “Even though I might have been trying to kill myself, one thing was radically evident: the disease was not,” he said.
This time period, as Sheen also told Lauer, was further marred by dalliances with prostitutes, who allegedly used their knowledge of the actor’s diagnosis to blackmail him (by his estimates, he’s forked over upwards of $10 million).
While Sheen insisted that he had properly informed all of his sexual partners about his condition, and had not transmitted the disease to anyone, he wrote, “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).”
But Sheen was adamant, and relieved, that the extortion would end with his public revelation. “I’m claiming back my freedom,” he wrote. “The scales of justice will swiftly and righteously re-balance themselves.”
Sheen concluded by saying his partying days were over and his philanthropic ones were ahead of him. The actor said he wanted to make the most of his newfound duty as a public figure with HIV, and referred to his diagnosis as, “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,” he wrote. “Diseases, imperfections, hurdles, detours. These maladies range from lupus to cancer, from paralysis to blindness, from diabetes to obesity. ‘Treated,’ HIV is no different.”