“He’s alive today because of the work we did,” Peter Staley tells TheWrap
Update, Jan. 13, 2016 3:27 PST: Sheen’s manager Mark Burg tells TheWrap that Sheen has resumed taking hismedication. According to Burg, Sheen stopped taking his HIV medication for about four weeks but went back on them as soon as his viral load went up. Burg says Sheen will continue looking for a cure.
Charlie Sheen announced on Tuesday that he quit his HIV meds, and the AIDS activist featured in Oscar-nominated documentary “How to Survive a Plague” is fuming.
“He’s shitting all over us, frankly,” Peter Staley told TheWrap. “He’s alive today because of the work we did.”
Sheen made his announcement on “The Dr. Oz Show” Tuesday, revealing that he’s been off his meds and seeking “alternative treatment” in Mexico.
“I’ve been off my meds for about a week now,” he told Dr. Mehmet Oz. “Am I risking my life? Sure. So what? I was born dead. That part of it doesn’t faze me at all.”
Sheen is seeking treatment from a physician named Dr. Sam Chachoua, whom Dr. Oz says is not licensed to practice medicine in the United States.
Activists say not only is Sheen risking his own life, his decision could endanger the health of others who might follow suit.
“It’s very disconcerting, a really horrible first step for someone who announced during his disclosure interview that he wanted to be an advocate for the cause,” Staley said. “Advocacy comes with responsibility.”
In November, Sheen told “Today” host Matt Lauer that he had been living with HIV for about four years. At the time he was taking his medication and, according to his doctors, his viral load was undetectable.
“I have a responsibility now to better myself and to help a lot of other people and hopefully with what we’re doing today others will come forward and say, ‘Thanks, Charlie,'” Sheen said at the end of the interview.
But according to Staley no one in the AIDS advocacy community is thanking him today.
“He’s spitting in the face of the men and women who have done the hard work and who have saved his life,” said Staley, who is credited with helping to push pharmaceutical companies and the government to develop today’s life-saving drugs. “His initial viral load when he was first diagnosed was 4.4 million. If it weren’t for those treatments, he would be dead today. I’m sure of it.”