The entertainment news world is abuzz with reports that Charlie Sheen will announce in a matter of hours that he is the unnamed Hollywood actor with HIV that has been making headlines of late.
The unnamed actor was rumoured to have been hiding his HIV-positive diagnosis from sexual partners for around two years.
According to celebrity gossip site TMZ, the 50-year-old actor will claim his HIV is “undetectable” due to medication and so he did not knowingly deceive any sexual partners because blood tests couldn’t reveal the presence of the disease.
Gawker – Report: Virus Undetectable in HIV Positive Charlie Sheen After Treatment https://t.co/Iw8AZvjG3p
— Silber World News (@SilberWorldNews) November 17, 2015
So what does this actually mean?
Victorian AIDS Council Chief Executive Simon Ruth said most people diagnosed with HIV these days and treated will achieve an undetectable status, which means testing will no longer pick up the virus.
They won’t be cured; they will always have the virus, but they will likely not infect others.
“We imagine by these comments Sheen is referring to ‘undetectable viral load’,” Mr Ruth said.
“Having an undetectable viral load does not mean that a person is not HIV-positive, and it does not mean that they are free of HIV.
“However, a person living with HIV on effective antiretroviral treatment can have HIV in their system at levels below current methods of detection (less than 20 copies of the virus per mL of blood). We refer to this as having an ‘undetectable viral load’.
“What we know from research is that it is unlikely that anyone with undetectable viral load can pass HIV on to others.”