COMMENT: Charlie Sheen, HIV and The Press
I recently wrote an article for THEGAYUK about reports in the Sun newspaper regarding a Hollywood actor that was alleged to have HIV.
I was quite firm in my opinion of the Sun and their showbiz journalist Dan Wootton, as I believed that the sensationalism was taking us back to the 1980s.
I cannot admit to being much of a Charlie Sheen fan previously, but I now have a new found admiration for him. The way in which he has been treated, and continues to be treated, is simply atrocious. Nobody deserves to have their medical conditions made public and the way in which some of the press have been reporting on this is nothing short of appalling.
There are two things to come out of all of this. On one hand it is encouraging that there is now somebody so well-known who has HIV. It has got conversations going around what HIV is and what undetectable means. That can only be a good thing which leads to increased education and awareness of HIV.
However on the other hand there is the sheer scale and sensationalism of the story. I genuinely thought we had progressed beyond the kind of reports that were seen twenty or thirty years ago. The fact that Charlie Sheen having HIV is such a huge worldwide news story shows that we have a very long way to go in terms of destigmatising HIV. It shouldn’t be a headline news story. It shouldn’t be the topic of tabloid gossip. It shouldn’t be the case that a human being has had to go on television to disclose medical information to the world.
Whilst there are encouraging aspects to take from Charlie Sheen’s story, it also shows just how much more progress, education and awareness there needs to be.
Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you’d like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.
Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.