22 Nov 2015

Charlie Sheen, stigma and how HIV is the 'new closet'

Sheen, stigma and how HIV is the 'new closet'
Sheen, stigma and how HIV is the 'new closet'

It was confirmed Tuesday that actor Charlie Sheen has been living with HIV for more than four years and paid "millions" women "doubtful" to keep exposing his world state.

"Locked in a vacuum of fear, I have chosen to allow their threats and skullduggery considerably impoverish future assets of my children, as my" secret "buried Saturday in their madness hives (or so I thought) , "Sheen wrote in an open letter to the media.

"It does not surprise me at all that he has spent money to hide," says Jonathan Scott, President and CEO of programs Boston win, a nonprofit that works daily with those who are diagnosed with HIV / AIDS. "HIV began with the horrible stigma, and even 30 years after the disease there is still the stigma that is different from other diseases, such as cancer. "

Actor Danny Pintauro, former star of "Who's the boss," calls for a diagnosis of HIV "new closet" where people have to decide whether to make it public. Pintauro announced recently that he is HIV-positive for 12 years.

HIV positive, Scott himself said it took him years to be able to talk to anyone. "I was tested in 1987, I did not pick my test results until the end of 1989 and did not tell people for another year after that. I have much sympathy for any journey or process somebody has to go. "

"Stigma around this is ridiculous," JoAnn accepts Coull. She was diagnosed with HIV in 1987 when it was time in prison in Massachusetts. "It manifests itself in many different ways, including depression. "

An active heroin addict for 37 years, said his Coull virus is now almost undetectable in the blood through her daily cocktail of antiviral drugs. "My account T cells was 30 and that's more than 500 now. I'm living proof that it works." She said she was blessed by the presence of a large health care team and being an active support system Victory Programs, where she gives back by working with women who are newly diagnosed.

"The woman I work with come from many cultures," said Coull. "They feel bad, feel guilty, even if they have contracted it through what their man. They think they are dirty, they are less than, they do not think they will live."

"They are concerned about the impact that their children might feel," said Coull. "They fear their children could be bullied, they want to protect their children. So they tend to isolate themselves and is not a support network."

Studies have long shown the stigma of HIV / AIDS was a major obstacle to the long-term success of any effort to prevention and treatment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States today. Of those "37% are actually seeing a clinician regularly," said Dr. Stephen Boswell, president and CEO of Boston Fenway Health, a health care organization that works with lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender.

"Denial is a very powerful thing," Boswell says by way of explanation for the numbers. "And it is sometimes easier, especially when you have no or minimal symptoms, it is easier to deny things. In this way, people can work, but it may take some time. Thus, it is a normal response. But the problem is, if it lasts too long, it is against the interest of the patient. "

"Anyone can do the most important thing is to know your status," advises Coull. "Take the test and if you have, consider a day at a time. We have access to major support systems, super incredible doctors and drugs in our country. "

"Stigma is always true," adds Scott. "We must continue the campaigns against stigma, and we need special services and programs that really help people with all of the decision that they need to do."

Scott Coull and are thankful for advertising, Charlie Sheen brings to the cause of HIV.

"I applaud Charlie Sheen to go out in public," says Scott. "It was a huge turning point in the HIV epidemic when Magic Johnson out, then Rock Hudson and Greg Louganis as an Olympic medalist. It was there more than 25 years. HIV can not be fatal and incurable as it was then, but at the same time there are many people to help and much to do. "

"I heard the interview and I salute him," said Coull. "Thank you, Charlie, that's exactly where we must go. "