Charlie Sheen’s Announcement Puts HIV In The Spotlight | WBEZ
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Here and Now

Charlie Sheen’s Announcement Puts HIV In The Spotlight

Actor Charlie Sheen waits on the set of the “Today” show before formally announcing that he is HIV positive in an interview with Matt Lauer on November 17, 2015 in New York City. Sheen says he learned of his diagnosis four years ago and was announcing it publically to put an end to rumors and extortion. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

The Centers for Disease Control reports that 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV infection, and that nearly one in eight – that’s more than 156,000 people – do not know they’re infected. And though HIV doesn’t grab the headlines that often these days, there are still 50,000 new infections here every year.

Many remember the day back in 1991 when Lakers NBA star Magic Johnson announced simultaneously that he had HIV and that he was resigning from basketball. At the time, most assumed the 32-year-old had been granted a death sentence.

Today, HIV is again thrust into the headlines with actor Charlie Sheen. He announced on NBC’s “Today” show that he is HIV positive.

Here & Now host Jeremy Hobson speaks with Terry Smith, associate director for prevention at the AIDS Project Los Angeles, about what an HIV diagnosis means today, and about the hurdles that HIV patients continue to face.

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