Charlie Sheen Saving Lives With HIV Disclosure, According To Study
Charlie Sheen’s revelation last November that he’s been living with HIV since 2011 has resulted in the actor helping to spread significant awareness about the disease, and possibly saving lives by encouraging the public to learn about treatment and prevention.
According to a new study from San Diego State University, Sheen’s “Today” show announcement led to the largest number of HIV-related Google searches in more than a decade. And these internet searches didn’t just pertain to curiosity about Sheen. More than one million of them involved gathering information about HIV awareness and public health, with many of the search terms related to symptoms and testing.
The university researchers also discovered that on the day Sheen revealed his HIV-status, there were more than 6,500 news stories on Google News related to the disease. And although being HIV-positive is a condition that many people wish to keep private, Sheen isn’t the first celebrity whose brave admission increased awareness about the disease. When former NBA star Magic Johnson divulged his status in 1991, it had a big impact on society becoming educated about the illness.
The difference now, of course, is the rise of the Internet and Google, allowing people to find information much quicker. Since initially disclosing his HIV infection, Sheen has continued to reveal new details about his everyday battle against the disease through appearances on “Dr. Oz.” It’s unclear, though, if those TV interviews have also led to increased online searches.