Washington Post Writer SCOLDS SOCIETY Over Charlie Sheen’s HIV Status
A Washington Post columnist is attacking the American public for the fact that Charlie Sheen is HIV positive.
Washington Post Style section columnist Lonnae O’Neal sounded almost intentionally clueless on Friday about Charlie Sheen’s admission he’s HIV-positive. “Bipolar disorder, my husband guessed. Yes, or perhaps schizophrenia, I said.”
But he showed up on NBC and announced it’s an STD, and O’Neal is stunned. “My reaction was swift and twofold. First: What!? HIV hadn’t even crossed my mind.”
Naturally, this column wasn’t about Sheen’s sexual incontinence. It was about the bigotry of everyone else. The column was titled “Sheen case shows how far we still have to go.” The hobgoblins of “stigma” still haunt society.
O’Neal turned to Neil Kawata of the National Minority AIDS Council, who called the millions in blackmail payments Sheen made “a clear example of the extent to which people will go to cover up the fact that they have HIV.”
There’s still a sense of shame attached to the disease, he said, and it gets internalized.
“I don’t know about Charlie, but at least from my friends who have the disease, there is this sense that they failed,” he said. “That they didn’t practice safe sex, that they did something wrong.” These days, most people know how HIV is transmitted; if you got it, they figure, that means you didn’t follow the rules. “The stigma is, this is a punishment.”
How about not blaming us for Charlie Sheen’s problems?