If you’ve been remotely paying attention to the news, you’re almost certainly aware of the Charlie Sheen HIV saga. With tiger blood and all of those years of him “winning” stuff… the actor has certainly made a (not-always-great) name for himself in the media.
But let’s focus on the positive for a second: when Charlie Sheen initially revealed that he is HIV-positive on NBC’s Today Show last year, it put HIV testing back on the minds of the American public. Sheen said it best himself: “I have a responsibility now to better myself and to help a lot of other people.”
Since then, we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of people registering for myLAB Box’s HIV tests. Whatever you think about Charlie Sheen as a person, you have to admit that this increased vigilance and attention to the virus is a wonderful byproduct of his story.
While HIV and AIDS are still very much present and prevalent, we seem to have become complacent as a society. Coverage has dwindled and the talk has died down. Every once in awhile, we need something to bring the discussion back to the surface. In many ways, Charlie Sheen’s brave reveal was just that. Celebrities have that kind of power. When Prince Harry filmed live coverage of his HIV test, studies showed a rise in testing as well.
The Value of a Familiar Face
While the true heroes in the fight against HIV are the doctors and medical professionals, perhaps the coverage had gotten too clinical for most of us to identify. Having a recognizable face on the issue helps to make this epidemic a little more relatable. In a world in which everyone assumes “it can never happen to me,” a familiar face like Sheen’s reminds us that it can happen to any of us. And it’s up to each of us to make sure it doesn’t.
Back in the early 90s, the “familiar face” was that of legendary rock star Freddie Mercury. Like Sheen, Mercury initially kept his diagnosis a secret. He died just one day after confirming that he was suffering from AIDS.
Though he was reluctant to share his diagnosis with the public, in his final days, he did come out strongly as a beacon for others suffering with HIV and AIDS, publicly saying: “I hope everyone will join with me, my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease.”
Mercury still left us with many a brave song and performance. He taught us how to live life to the fullest, even in the face of a harrowing diagnosis. Luckily, now that there are stronger prevention methods and more effective treatments, someone living with HIV is more likely to live their life to the fullest for much longer than Mercury was able to.
Both men kept their diagnoses a secret because of the stigma surrounding HIV. That’s a stigma that we at myLAB Box are working to eradicate because HIV is nothing to be ashamed of and it truly can happen to anyone, no matter their age or lifestyle. It is imperative that regular STD screening becomes a staple of everyone’s sexual health. Needless shame can stop ordinary people from receiving a potentially life-saving diagnosis.
Sheen and Mercury’s courage inspired a change in the ways we think about STIs and our own sexual health. It also just so happens that their birthdays share the month of September along with World Sexual Health Day. So we have decide to do something special to celebrate their contribution:
Starting this weekend and throughout the month of September, myLAB Box is holding a huge sale on our HIV testing packages in hopes that their stories will continue to bring the conversation forward and encourage people to get tested.
Savings Throughout September!
Enjoy 40% off of our standard HIV testing packages by using the promo code: “AIDSAWARE” today and help us make our world safer and healthier for all one test at a time!