Charlie Sheen, former Two and a Half Men star, recently revealed he is HIV positive on the American talk show Today. The media were heavily criticised for the way they reported the story, with concerns on the stigmatisation of people with HIV and AIDS.
Dr Jennifer Power, Research Fellow, La Trobe University, says hopefully it is a good thing for Sheen to be open about his HIV status and free himself from stress and being a target for extortion. Dr Power says people are still anxious about disclosing that they have HIV.
Simon Ruth, CEO, Victorian AIDS Council, says the media started reporting about Sheen's condition a week ago. Ruth says the media used a lot of words he wouldn't liked to have seen used and breached Sheen's confidentiality and privacy. Ruth mentions the Grim Reaper bowling alley advertisement says the movie Dallas Buyers Club perpetuates the concept that HIV is going to kill people. Ruth says the HIV treatment today are good and people can live a healthy life, as compared to those in the 1980's.
Associate Professor Trevor Cullen, Edith Cowan University, says the HIV medications have improved since the last 10 years. Rob Lake, executive director, Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, says fear of HIV is one reason why people don't want to get tested. Lake says the HIV treatments in 2015 are quite amazing, especially so in Australia. Lake says the anti-discrimination protection system and Australia's health system are a part of the reason.