Charlie Health – Why a celebrity’s HIV outing has positive effects. Why testing is so important in the fight against infectious disease. The decision to make his illness public was not entirely voluntary. Before the outing, tabloids had speculated about a possible HIV infection for days. Sheen also said he was blackmailed by a prostitute who photographed his medication. He wanted to put an end to that.
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The HIV Outing
In late 2015, actor Charlie Sheen revealed that he was HIV positive to counter blackmailing allegations from a sex partner aggressively. In addition, days before the outing, there was speculation about his possible HIV infection in the gossip press.
A positive side effect of his coming out: the number of HIV self-tests sold skyrocketed. Inquiries about HIV prevention and testing on Google ran into the millions. For this purpose, the sales figures of the tests were analyzed. However, which remained elevated for up to four weeks after his television appearance.
The Jolie Effect – Charlie Health
This effect is not new. As early as 2013, when the actress Angelina Jolie had both breasts surgically removed to prevent possible hereditary breast cancer, a similarly increased interest in the topic of ‘genetic breast cancer risk was noted. Back then, people spoke of the Jolie effect. The influence of the HIV outing is now referred to as the Charlie health effect.
In the United States, an estimated one in eight of the 1.2 million people living with HIV are unaware of their condition. The rate in Germany is similarly high: According to the Robert Koch Institute, around 84,700 people in Germany carried the virus in their bodies at the end of 2015 – 12,600 without knowing it.
Unlike in the USA, if you want to be tested in Germany, you still have to go to a doctor or a counseling center. Moreover, as examined in the current study, self-tests at home are not yet approved in Germany. However, that could change soon: the Federal Ministry of Health announced at the beginning of May that it was advising on approval for domestic use.
Knowledge Is Protection
It is estimated that almost every seventh infected person does not know about their illness. According to the Robert Koch Institute, around 84,700 people were carrying the virus at the end of 2015, although it is assumed that 12,600 did not know of it.
So far, unlike in France or Great Britain, you can not simply buy the self-test in the pharmacy or order it at home, as it is not yet approved in this country. The providers of these tests are therefore located abroad. However, that could change soon. The Deutsche AIDS -Hilfe also hopes that dispensing through pharmacies or counseling centers will be permitted before the end of this year.
Early detection of the infection is very important as infected people can pass the virus on without their knowledge. In addition, early detection is important to enable the patient to receive the best possible treatment.
Charlie Health – the actor has yet to capitalize on the moment’s attention for charitable messages. For example, he hasn’t highlighted the importance of HIV testing nor promoted condoms. And yet it caused thousands of people to reflect on their own HIV risk, as a recent evaluation shows.
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