NEWS: On 17 November 2015, actor Charlie Sheen appeared on the Today Show to publicly acknowledge that he has been HIV-positive for the last four years:

In addition to the actor’s interview with Matt Lauer, Sheen also published an open letter regarding his diagnosis:

Roughly four years ago, I suddenly found myself in the throws of a seismic and debilitating three-day cluster-migraine-like headache. I was emergently hospitalized with what I believed to be a brain tumor or perhaps some unknown pathology. I was partially correct. Following a battery of endless tests, that included a hideous spinal tap, it was sadly and shockingly revealed to me that I was, in fact, positive for HIV.

The news was a “mule kick” to my soul. Those impossible words I absorbed and then tried to convince myself, that I was stuck, suspended, or even stranded inside some kind of alternate reality or nightmare, were to the absolute contrary. I was awake. It was true … reality.

While Charlie Sheen reported he has been HIV-positive for roughly four years, the actor’s physician, Dr. Robert Huizenga, said that “Charlie does not have AIDS” and that he does not expect the disease to affect the actor’s life expectancy:

The urgent dilemma that both Charlie and I recognize is that there are 1.2 million other Americans currently living with this diagnosis. Shockingly, up to 20 percent of these individuals are unaware of their HIV status and sadly 60 percent are not adequately being treated. This leads to 50,000 new diagnoses and 18,000 HIV deaths yearly in this country.

I anticipate Charlie can save many more lives coming forward with his revelation than I could ever have aspired to as a doctor. With Charlie remaining dedicated to his treatment regimen, I expect the HIV will only minimally — if at all — affect his predicted life expectancy.