Two and A Half Men star Charlie Sheen has revealed he is HIV positive.
Talking on the Today show, he said: “I am here to admit I am HIV-positive and I have to put a stop to the onslaught and barrage of attacks and sub-truths that are threatening the health of so many others.”
Charlie isn’t the first celebrity to disclose his HIV status.
1. Rock Hudson
Actress Liza Minnelli, left, and actor Rock Hudson are seen with actress Elizabeth Taylor IN 1985 (Lennox McLendon/AP)
In July 1985, actor Rock Hudson announced he had been diagnosed with HIV in 1984, and had Aids. A month after the initial announcement, a press release issued by Hudson’s people speculated that he may have contracted HIV through blood transfusions needed for a heart bypass in 1981.
Hudson died from Aids-related complications in October 1985. The Pillow Talk and Dynasty star was one of Hollywood’s iconic leading men, and following his death, friends revealed he had kept the fact that he was gay a secret from the public.
2. Magic Johnson
The Los Angeles Lakers star announced he was HIV-positive during a press conference in 1991. He said: “I plan on going on living for a long time, bugging you guys like I always do…
“I will now become a spokesman for the HIV virus, because I want young people to realise they can practice safe-sex. Sometimes you’re naive about it, and you think it could never happen to you… It has happened. But I’m going to deal with it, and my life will go on.”
He founded the Magic Johnson Foundation after revealing his HIV status, and has been an active campaigner in educating people about the disease.
3. Freddie Mercury
Queen’s lead vocalist Freddie Mercury died from Aids-related causes in November 1991, just days after publicly speaking about his condition for the first time.
In his first statement about his illness, he said: “Following enormous conjecture in the press, I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV positive and have Aids. I felt it correct to keep this information private in order to protect the privacy of those around me.
“However, the time has now come for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth, and I hope everyone will join with me, my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease.”
4. Arthur Ashe
American tennis star Arthur Ashe was the first black player to win Wimbledon. Ashe believed he had contracted HIV through a blood transfusion needed during heart-bypass surgery in 1983.
He was first made aware of his HIV status when he had to have emergency brain surgery in New York in 1988. He passed away from Aids-related pneumonia in 1993 at the age of 49.
5. Andy Bell
Erasure’s Andy Bell announced in 2004 that he had been HIV positive for six years. Talking about his decision to go public, he told the Guardian: “A few years before, some newspapers had been going to publish stories saying I was HIV when I wasn’t. We had to threaten them with lawyers. So when I did catch it, I thought honesty was the best way to protect myself. It was on MTV for a bit and then it just died down. People tend to brush those things under the carpet.”
6. Michael Jeter
Best known for his role on Sesame Street as Mr Noodle, actor Michael Jeter found out he was HIV positive in 1996, and revealed his condition the next year. He died in March 2003 aged 50, and reports said he died of natural causes. Jeter won an Emmy for his role in Evening Shade, and had been working on The Polar Express.