Charlie Sheen's HIV-positive disclosure: Possible legal consequences following his revelation

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Actor Charlie Sheen has slept with nearly 5000 women
Though he has not admitted to being a sex addict, his behaviour has always been questioned by the media. Sheen confessed to spending $53,000 on sex workers and sleeping with 5000 women. This is a major symptom of sex addicts, they visit sex workers, strip clubs and have sex with multiple partners. Reuters

Charlie Sheen’s announcement about his HIV-positive diagnosis poses legal consequences for the actor and for those who intend to propagate the stigma against HIV-positive individuals.

Sheen told NBC’s Today that he has been blackmailed for millions after he was diagnosed with the virus four years ago.

“Just the fact that there were people who could try to blackmail him about his status speaks to the fact that we haven’t come as far as we need to in eliminating the stigma, and that the fear is still with us in a very palpable way," said Allison Nichol, the co-director of the Center for HIV Law and Policy in New York.

His revelation poses legal threats against him, and Sheen acknowledges the possibility of lawsuits biting him after the revelation. Questions about whether or not claims against him will prosper purely depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations.

Since 1998, California passed a law that mandates HIV positive individuals to disclose their condition to their partner before engaging in any sexual activity. The law also prohibits HIV positive individuals to engage in activities that manifest specific intent to infect another person. Sheen claims to have always been transparent with his sexual partners about his condition.

"I always lead with condoms and honesty when it came to my condition,” he said.

There are a number of civil cases filed against HIV positive individuals on the ground of negligence and fraud claims. Some claimed entitlement to damages because of the emotional distress caused by late discovery that their partners were HIV-positive. However, mere claims of emotional distress have no legal ground to stand on once the claimant’s test comes out as negative.

As for HIV-positive individuals like Sheen, the State and federal law prohibits discrimination which includes refusal to hire someone because of his or her HIV status or even to ask about it in job interviews. As for application for insurance, the insurers are mandated to look into the HIV status of a person the same way that they would look at any other ailment.

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