Charlie Sheen is HIV+, but he doesn’t have AIDS: This is the difference

HIV positive status means a person has the Human Immunodeficiency Virus in his/her bloodstream but the person’s immunity has not been compromised enough to make him/her a full blown case.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | Updated: November 20, 2015 10:58 am
Charlie Sheen, Charlie Sheen HIV Charlie Sheen may have freed himself from blackmail by publicly disclosing he is HIV positive, but the hard-partying actor may have opened the door to even more legal troubles. (Source: AP)

Actor Charlie Sheen’s announcement about his HIV positive status may have evoked mixed reactions for its delay, but for many, the line that separates a person living with HIV and one with full blown AIDS is still blurred.

(Also read: Charlie Sheen expects lawsuits over HIV status, but crime hard to prove)

HIV positive status means a person has the Human Immunodeficiency Virus in his/her bloodstream but the person’s immunity has not been compromised enough to make him/her a full blown case. However, the person is capable of transmitting the virus either through sexual contact, transfer of blood and blood products and sharing needles.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is said to have occurred when the person becomes a victim of opportunistic infections like TB and diarrhoea, cold infections etc., and it becomes almost a daily occurrence. It is in a sense the last stage of the disease.

(Also read: Charlie Sheen’s major controversies)

The extent to which the immune system is compromised is measured by what is called CD4 count. CD4 cells, also known as T-helper cells are a kind of white blood cell that is a crucial part of the immune system of the body. They move through the blood stream identifying and destroying invading pathogens. Normally, every cubic mm of blood contains anything between 800-1300 CD4 cells, a higher count signifying better immunity.

Based on a person’s CD4 count a cocktail of anti-virals called anti-retroviral treatment (ART) is started on people like Sheen who are living with HIV. Recent developments in medicine have been such that it is now possible for a person who is HIV+ to stave off the disease for a very long time — or even for life by following a strict regimen and disciplined lifestyle.

It is for this reason that India has recently decided to make people living with HIV who have a CD4 count of 500 eligible for ART. Earlier the norm was 300.

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  1. R
    Romik
    Nov 20, 2015 at 6:11 am
    WHO should hire him as a spokesperson for STDs. He can talk from personal experience and help many young people !
    Reply
    1. D
      Daniel Behora
      Nov 24, 2015 at 11:15 am
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      Reply
      1. D
        Daniel Behora
        Nov 24, 2015 at 12:30 pm
        Contact Dr. Ariba today if you need cure to HERPES, POS and HIV cure, Don't bother yourself anymore, you have finally found the cure, Contact Dr. Ariba on OR . He will help you, He is going to cure you using His miraculous herbs he cured me from Hepais B, remember #HEALTH IS #WEALTH, Nothing good comes so easily, he will help you okay.
        Reply