Promiscuous actor Charlie Sheen confirmed reports that he is HIV positive on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday.
"I am in fact HIV positive," the 50-year-old womanizer told "Today" host Matt Lauer.
Sheen said he's known about his diagnosis for four years, and that he originally thought he had a brain tumor because he suffered from migraine headaches.
He said he also experienced drenching night sweats for 3 nights in a row.
“It is a hard three letters to absorb,” he said.
Sheen told Lauer that he didn't know how he contracted the disease. But there are reports that Sheen had casual sex with male and female escorts, including M2F transvestites.
Sheen told Lauer it was "impossible" for him to transmitted the HIV virus to any of his sex partners.
Sheen said he confided in those he trusted and told them about his HIV status. He said that's when the "shakedowns" began.
He said he paid "upwards of $10 million" to others to buy their silence.
When asked if he would continue paying, he replied "Not after today."
Sheen's personal physician, Robert Huizenga, told Lauer he has known Sheen for five or six years. He confirmed that Sheen's HIV viral load is "undetectable."
But that only means the viral count in a small sample of his blood is too low for standard tests to detect. It does not mean the virus that causes AIDS is not present.
When the HIV virus enters the body it uses the body's immune system (white blood cells) to make copies of itself. Eventually the white blood cells are overwhelmed and killed, leaving the virus to continue its rampage in the body.
The advance of the disease is halted by antiretroviral drugs which stop the virus from replicating itself, thus reducing the viral load because the life cycle of the virus is very short.
That doesn't mean the patient is cured of HIV.
Junkies are notorious for being noncompliant with their medications. They often go on drug and alcohol-fueled binges and either forget or refuse to take their antiretroviral medicine.
Just being off the drugs for a few days can cause the HIV virus to rally and overwhelm the body's immune system again.