In the 30 years I've had HIV, I never expected to feel sorry, tender even, for a Hollywood actor, let alone Charlie Sheen: wanting to give this hot man-mess a hug, clap him on the back, spur him on to sober up and start living with HIV rather than dying from the shame of it. I really hope Charlie's self-outing as HIV positive does mark his final emergence from whatever swamp of chaos he's been floundering in this last five years.
We can achieve it by testing, so as to minimise the number of guys who don't think they have HIV, but do. We can achieve it by maximising viral suppression and getting as many HIV+ guys on treatment as possible. We can achieve it by using PrEP, not just because it works, but also to take the anxiety and rabbit-in-headlights paralysis out of gay dating.
More and more, we are hearing about the convergence of health and education. You can't learn if you are out of school sick. Lack of education leads to poverty and in turn the inability to access healthcare. To lead productive lives, people need both health and education: the two are cause and effect.
I do understand that for many, the science is not easily understood, and that you may still think doubt about the origins of AIDS is still a matter for legitimate discourse. It is not. It is an entirely irresponsible thing to do, and I beg you even at this late stage to withdraw the screening of this film.
Many younger gay men these days have not seen their friends die of AIDS-related illnesses, and there certainly isn't the fear around HIV which their once was. There is a difficult balance to strike here: we don't want to stigmatise HIV further yet at the same time it is difficult to combat the damaging "I don't care" attitude without emphasising the serious nature of the HIV infection.