You pay a price for being a celebrity, they say. This assertion is true.
Despite the status coming with fame, money, regard and preferential treatment at social facilities and functions, you kiss goodbye your private life; and forget your privacy on matters love, interactions, shopping or even health – where health could include your HIV status.
Popular celebrities have since July 25, 1985 chosen to go public about their HIV status, with at least eight admitting they have HIV – the human immunodeficiency virus that can, but doesn’t necessarily, develop into AIDS.
The following stars came forward and said they are HIV- positive; notwithstanding the stigma associated with the virus.
He is certainly not the first celebrity to contract HIV or AIDS, but the latest to come out.
Charlie Sheen revealed he was diagnosed and tested HIV – positive in an interview on the ‘Today Show’ on Tuesday (November 17).
The 50-year-old actor sat down with Matt Lauer and opened up about learning of the diagnosis four years ago.
“I would like to admit that I am in fact HIV – positive,” he told Lauer. “I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks and of sub-truths and very harmful and mercurial stories that are about me, that threaten the health of so many others and that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Sheen went on to say he told those he thought he could trust at the time, but was mistaken, saying he paid out millions of dollars to people in order to keep his diagnosis a secret.
Rock Hudson was the first celebrity to go public as having the illness on July 25, 1985.
The actor, who died in October 2 that year aged 59, helped many other celebrities to come forward with their HIV status.
The Pillow Talk star was a closeted gay man when he contracted HIV. He was diagnosed on June 5, 1984 and months before he died revealed he was suffering from AIDS.
Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson
The former Los Angeles (LA) Lakers star retired at the peak of his career in 1991, divulging that he was HIV positive.
Johnson has never disclosed who transmitted the virus to him other than it was a woman he had unprotected sex with.
In coming forward, he helped change the perception that HIV was a “gay disease”. The now 56-year-old has also shown that HIV is no longer a death sentence.
According to Mercury’s partner Jim Hutton, the Queen frontman was diagnosed with AIDS shortly before Easter in 1987. He was later hounded by the media who noticed his ill health.
On November 23, 1991 he released a statement saying “I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV positive and have AIDS. I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me.
“However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with me, my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease.”
A little more than 24 hours after issuing that statement, Mercury died at the age of 45 from bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS.
On February 24, 1995, the rapper, born Eric Wright, went to hospital believing to be suffering from asthma. Instead, he was diagnosed with AIDS.
He said he had lost his virginity at the age of 12 and had seven children with six different women. On March 26, 1995, a month after his diagnosis, he died aged 30. He refused to be disgraced by his illness in a statement prior to his death.
“I just feel that I’ve got thousands and thousands of young fans that have to learn about what’s real when it comes to AIDS. Like the others before me, I would like to turn my own problem into something good that will reach out to all my homeboys and their kin. Because I want to save them before it’s too late,” he said.
Arthur Ashe was a renowned tennis player. He became the first black man to win in singles at Wimbledon and the US Open.
In the 1980s Ashe contracted HIV through a blood transfusion. He announced that he had AIDS in April 1992 and started working to help others with AIDS and HIV.
He died of AIDS-related pneumonia on February 6, 1993.
The Olympic gold medalist shocked many in his 1996 autobiography when he came out both as a homosexual and as a person living with HIV.
He tested positive for HIV in 1988. He has been an activist for raising awareness around the virus and married his partner Johnny Chaillot in October 2013.
The piano man died in 1987 determined to keep his battle with AIDS a secret.
His doctor said he suffered cardiac arrest due to heart failure.
However, the coroner later delivered the bombshell that the singer died of pneumonia-related complications resulting from AIDS.
(Additional reporting by: news.com.au)