Charlie Sheen announcing his HIV status this week does not necessarily come as a surprise, terrible news though that it is. In the case of any of our modern-day ‘naughty boy’ celebs, whether they flitter from gender to gender like Freddie Mercury did, engage in dangerous substance overdoing like Lamar Odom, or live a lifestyle of seemingly manic ranting, one cannot put one’s self in harm’s way without experiencing some pitfalls.
Ever more aware these days of the potential risks of certain behaviors, whether they be drug taking or indiscriminate unprotected sexual encounters, most of us step very carefully indeed across the landscape of our encounters. But in many cases, better education, early detection, the ability to vet partners, still doesn’t isolate us from danger. In the end, as long as one is ‘interacting’- in all the layered definitions of that word-one can ever true completely eliminate risk, only decrease it.
During an interview on Today Sheen related how he was being blackmailed for “millions” by people threatening to expose his HIV and that he has always told his sexual partners of his status. But Bree Olson, Sheen’s ex-girlfriend, told Howard Stern that when it comes to what she was told Sheen “…never said anything to me” about his HIV.
It is presently a felony in the state of California (where Sheen lives) to expose another person to HIV by engaging in unprotected sex when the infected knows they are indeed infected and fail to disclose their status with “specific intent to infect another person.” It is the word ‘intent’ here which proves the legal linchpin; filing a lawsuit proving intent to infect is difficult indeed. Contrarily, civil lawsuits in this matter can and have been filed for negligence, battery and fraud where proving intent is not as important.
Whatever the future holds for Sheen in possible lawsuits or his health, he proves the rule that playing close to fire can get one burnt.