Jumping all over Charlie Sheen just seems unfair. The guy has more loose screws than a Home Depot, so expecting him to act rationally is asking way too much. What is even more sickening is the cast of characters that are chiming in with advice and opinions, despite the fact that they may be even dumber than he is. Worse still, they are celebrities, and for this reason alone, some people will listen to them.
Sheen, perhaps not astute a virologist as you would expect, somehow decided that his "regimen" for taking his meds was just as good (or even better?) as taking them daily. And, big surprise! When he stopped taking them, his viral load went back up.
This startling revelation was made on (no surprise here) the Dr. Oz Show the second best source of accurate medical information. (The best being Midas Muffler.) This is what Sheen said on the show: I m a little off my game, because right before I walked out here, I got some results that I was disappointed about ... I know this is an experiment, that I took a stroll down a different path. But yeah, I d been non-detectable [sic] and non-detectable and checking the blood every week, and then found out that the numbers were back up.
If the Dr. Oz show isn't bad enough of a place to get medical advice, you can do worse. The choices are endless, but it is hard to top Jenny McCarthy. She was pretty damn sure that vaccines gave her kid autism, and then changed her tune to "they probably didn't, but more research was needed in this area."
McCarthy: Now being on Two and a Half Men myself, I feel like in playing a love interest, you would think there would be some type of, I don t want to say criminal issue, but I don t even know how to feel about that."
Comment: Her command of the English language is on par with her medical acumen. Jenny, just shut the hell up. I'm begging you.
Well-known infectious disease specialist Burt Reynolds: "He deserved it. He misbehaved badly. Very badly. But you know when you re that age, it s tough. All those things are coming at you. It s difficult.
Comment: OK, Sheen is 50. At what age is it not tough to avoid catching HIV from unprotected sex with hookers, and then going off the meds that will keep you alive?
Former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss said (presumably without irony) that she "hopes he can be a role model for others with HIV."
Comment: He's gotten off to one helluva bad start.
Former porn star Bree Olson (who dated Sheen in 2011): "I could be dead right now. I could literally be dead right now. ... It was like playing Russian roulette."
Comment: She could be, but it wouldn't be from HIV. The antiretroviral drugs that keep the virus from replication are so good that the lifespan of HIV-infected people is now not terribly different from people who are not infected.
For readers who still may not be attuned to irony, this is what is going on: a porn star giving advice to a drug addled sex addict. Lovely.
The rest of this isn't so funny.
What is really obscene here is that people who are too young, and did not witness the terrifying devastation from HIV/AIDS that began in 1982, do not fully appreciate what Charlie Sheen casually decided to discard.
Despite what was perhaps the biggest research campaign in the history of pharmaceutical research, it took 13 years in 1995 until the first "AIDS cocktail" drug came out, and for the first time the death rate in the U.S. began to drop. But, before that, people were so desperate for anything that might stop the virus that they were trying one useless (and/or dangerous) experimental drug after another. Nothing worked. Everyone died. It seemed hopeless.
Now, 34 years into the epidemic, the drugs are so good that they reliably reduce the viral load to the point that it cannot even be measured. Once this is achieved, infected people are healthy, and have so little circulating virus in their bodies that it is very difficult to even infect other people.
The unfortunate people who suffered gruesome deaths simply because they contracted the infection at the wrong time would have done anything to have access to modern AIDS medicines. And yet even today, in many areas of the world, people are literally dying because they do not have access to these drugs. Yet Sheen chose to stop taking them for no particular reason.
Of all of the "wrongs" committed during this unseemly episode, this is probably the most obscene.