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Ex-Girlfriend Files Suit Against Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen

The controversial actor is allegedly being sued by another ex-girlfriend for exposure to HIV.

With his long history of drug and alcohol abuse, numerous sexual partners, and often strange and rambling public statements, Charlie Sheen is no stranger to being at the center of controversy. But after coming out about being HIV-positive in November 2015 on NBC’s Today show, the actor once again finds himself at the center of a heated debate: HIV criminalization.

Though neither Sheen nor the ex-girlfriend in question are named in the lawsuit (due to her previously signing a non-disclosure agreement), it is widely believed to be against Sheen due to the specific circumstances mentioned within, according to Variety.

The suit, which was filed Thursday in L.A. County Superior Court, states that the “confidential male defendant” learned he was HIV positive in 2011, and gave “national TV interviews” about his HIV status on Nov. 17, 2015 and on June 21, 2016. Sheen learned he was HIV positive in 2011, and appeared on the Today show (wherein he discussed his HIV-positive status) on Nov. 17, 2015 and on June 21, 2016. The plaintiff, described only as a “Russian émigré,” is identified as “Jane Doe” in the suit.

Sheen has been sued once before for exposing a partner to HIV by his ex-fiancée, Scottine Ross, shortly after going public about his status. In December of 2015, Ross sued him for physical and emotional abuse, as well as exposing her to HIV. Ross’s suit was eventually referred to arbitration.

In both suits, neither woman claimed to have contracted the virus, but rather sued for being exposed to it, which raises questions of accountability for one’s own sexual health. Advocates argue that everyone should be aware of the risk of HIV and other STIs when engaging in sexual activity with anyone, and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves. From this perspective, prosecuting those living with HIV for exposing others to the virus seems biased and unfair.

And given Sheen’s tumultuous past, it is even easier for many to place blame and see his ex’s as victims. In both lawsuits, there are allegations of physical and emotional abuse — but the big issue for all those living with HIV — is whether not disclosing your status to partners should be criminalized.

In the current suit, the plaintiff says she met the defendant (presumed to be Sheen) in September 2015, and they quickly began a sexual relationship. She claims that she asked him if he had any STIs, and he repeatedly assured her that he was “fine.” The plaintiff says that they initially used latex condoms during sex, but engaged in unprotected oral sex — and then on Oct. 26, 2015 they had unprotected (condomless) sex for the first time.

Immediately following this encounter is when the defendant first disclosed his HIV-positive status, and gave her two pills to prevent transmission, alleges the plaintiff. She says she was alarmed and upset by the news and sought medical treatment immediately. She was told she would have to take antiretroviral medication for several weeks.

One big issue that is not being addressed is that Sheen stated in several interviews that he had an undetectable viral load at the time of the alleged exposure (and still does, thanks to his antiretroviral therapy). This what the defendant could have meant when he said he was “fine,” as the plaintiff alleges. If one has an undetectable viral load, then there is a zero chance of transmitted the virus to a partner. Undetectable equals untransmittable, a fact that much of the general public is unfortunately still unaware of.

However, Sheen’s current girlfriend, model Julia Stambler, is apparently aware of this fact and has talked openly about her lack of fear of HIV, according to TMZ. Stambler and Sheen believe there are surefire ways to avoid contracting the virus, such as using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and condoms. In addition, Sheen’s undetectable viral load has given Stambler even more reassurance. Stambler said she was hurt by people’s warnings to stay away from Sheen due to his status, and thinks that they're ignorant and living in the fearful past. Stambler says it’s a terrible message to send to people with HIV, according to the report.

 

 

 

 

 

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Desirée Guerrero

Editor

Ryan is the Digital Director of The Advocate Channel, and a graduate of NYU Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing. She is also a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. While her specialties are television writing and comedy, Ryan is a young member of the LGBTQ+ community passionate about politics and advocating for all.

Ryan is the Digital Director of The Advocate Channel, and a graduate of NYU Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing. She is also a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. While her specialties are television writing and comedy, Ryan is a young member of the LGBTQ+ community passionate about politics and advocating for all.