Social media hails Charlie Sheen after HIV announcement

Actor Charlie Sheen shared on Tuesday that he is HIV-positive.

Story highlights

  • Actor Charlie Sheen revealed his status on "Today"
  • Twitter rallied around him Tuesday

(CNN)Charlie Sheen has long been controversial, with his share of both fans and critics. But on Tuesday, social media rallied around the actor after he revealed that he is HIV-positive.

He shared the news in an interview with Matt Lauer on "Today," saying, "I'm here to admit that I am in fact HIV-positive.
    "And 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 the (alleged) threatening the health of so many others, which couldn't be farther from the truth," Sheen said.
    Twitter quickly rallied around the embattled celeb, who also said he has paid "into the millions" to people threatening to reveal his status. Sheen was praised for going public.
    GLAAD tweeted a response, using Sheen's announcement as a teachable moment about HIV and those living with the disease.
    "To eradicate HIV once and for all, we must first eradicate the stigma attached to it," Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD's chief executive officer and president, said in a statement. "Stigma prevents people from getting tested, it prevents people from getting treated, and it can contribute to increased rates of infection. In this new era of prevention and treatment, including methods like PrEP, the media must take this opportunity to end the stigma and shine light on the stories of more than 1.2 million Americans living full lives with HIV today."
    Sheen told Lauer that although he doesn't plan on being the "poster man" for HIV, he does want to use his celebrity to help.
    "I will not shun away from responsibilities and opportunities that drive me to helping others," he said. "I will pick my spots carefully and respectfully."