Charlie Sheen Has An “Undetectable Level of HIV”: What That Really Means
On the Today Show,former 2 & A Half Men and Anger Management actor Charlie Sheen came forward to admit that he is HIV positive. It was later found that he had been paying nearly 10 million dollars to extortionists to keep his status a secret.
But today, Mr. Sheen wanted to release himself of that burden, as he says it is taking money away from his kids.
Mr. Sheen’s doctor, Robert Huizenga, joined him during one segment of the interview. Dr. Huizenga is an associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Dr. Huizenga said that he had known Mr. Sheen for five or six years, and that Mr. Sheen was immediately put on treatment when he contracted H.I.V. He said that the treatment had suppressed the virus and the Mr. Sheen was “absolutely healthy,” but that his biggest concern was depression and substance abuse.
Dr. Huizenga confirmed that Mr. Sheen had an “undetectable level of the virus” in his blood and did not have AIDS.
Mr. Sheen said that he was on the “triple cocktail” of H.I.V. medications and takes four pills a day.
That term “undetectable level of HIV” has been heard before by non-other than Magic Johnson. But what does that mean? Do they still have the virus? Can they still give it to someone? Are they cured? Well, here’s the truth:
Taking anti-HIV drugs (ARVs) is very important for reducing your risk of passing HIV to sex partners, but it is not 100% effective at preventing HIV transmission. A large international study looked at heterosexual couples in which one partner was HIV positive and the other was HIV negative. The researchers found that if the positive partners took HIV medications to suppress their viral load, their risk of infecting their partners was enormously reduced. In fact, the rate of HIV infection for the HIV negative partners was 96% lower if the positive partner was on ARVs. While experts don’t know for sure whether HIV medications will have this huge benefit in preventing HIV transmission between men who have sex with men, or between other types of partners, we think it will. Having said that, it will never be 100% protective for all couples.
There’s no way to know whether suppressing the HIV viral load through ARV therapy will be protective for you or…