Hours after announcing that he is living with HIV on the Today show Tuesday, Charlie Sheen has released an open letter about his diagnosis and the road ahead.
In the letter, obtained by Fusion, Sheen writes that he began experiencing severe migraines about four years ago. Initially suspecting a brain tumor, the former Two and a Half Men star soon learned that he was HIV positive:
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.
Sheen says that he "began a rigorous and intensive treatment program" and that his viral loads became undetectable very quickly. Although he was "kicking this disease's ass," the actor had left his emotional wounds untreated:
The personal disbelief, karmic confusion, shame and anger lead to a temporary yet abysmal [descent] into profound substance abuse and fathomless drinking. It was a suicide run.
Despite spiraling out of control (remember that whole "winning"/"tiger blood" era?), Sheen writes that he never skipped his medication and that he always "lead with condoms and honesty" with the people he hooked up with. Still, he claims that he has "paid out countless millions" to "desperate charlatans" eager to extort money in return for keeping his diagnosis a secret. That's one of the major reasons why he's breaking his silence, the actor says:
Locked in a vacuum of fear, I chose to allow their threats and skullduggery to vastly deplete future assets from my children, while my 'secret' sat entombed in their hives of folly…
News Flash: This ends today. I'm claiming back my freedom. The scales of justice will swiftly and righteously rebalance themselves.
The actor concludes by saying that he dos not see HIV as a "curse or scourge," but rather as an opportunity to help others and a challenge to better himself. His physician, Dr. Robert Huizenga, hopes in an accompanying statement that the awareness and public conversation Sheen could spur as a public figure living with HIV could save lives.
"My partying days are behind me," Sheen concludes his letter. "My philanthropic days are ahead of me."
Bad at filling out bios seeks same.