The National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA) and Positive Life NSW (PLNSW) congratulate Charlie Sheen for his disclosure on US television that he is living with HIV.
It has taken courage for Mr Sheen to come out as HIV-positive, just as it does for any of the estimated 28,000 Australians living with the virus.
Mr Sheen’s disclosure has the potential to help others in similar situations and raise awareness in the general population about transmission risk and how to live a healthy and productive life, whilst managing the infection.
We believe that Mr Sheen’s disclosure needs to be embraced and accepted globally, without sensationalising the disclosure and potentially stigmatising people living with HIV or those at high risk of viral acquisition.
The social shame associated with HIV continually demonstrates concrete negative effects on a person’s mental and physical health, and this fuels HIV transmissions.
People at risk of HIV need to know their HIV status, test regularly, and if they receive a positive HIV diagnosis commence immediate treatment. Taking control of their health by managing HIV will assist greatly in ending HIV in Australia.
Today, HIV is a chronic manageable infection and can be successfully supressed and managed through maintaining engagement with health services and remaining adherent to anti-retroviral treatments.
Through effective treatment, people living with HIV can achieve viral suppression and the risk of onward transmission is virtually impossible.
For assistance in reporting appropriately on HIV, journalists should refer to the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations HIV Media Guide.
NAPWHA – Aaron Cogle, Executive Director – (02) 8568 0301
PLNSW – Craig Cooper, CEO – 0422 509 200