How Charlie Sheen's revelation helped raise HIV awareness!

Google searches for information about HIV hit a record high in the US after Charlie Sheen announced that he is a HIV-positive.

Updated: Feb 24, 2016, 19:02 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Washington DC: Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen's disclosure about his human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive status seems to have had a huge impact on the public, particularly in the US.

As per a new research, Google searches for information about HIV hit a record high in the US after the troubled star made the stunning revelation in November last year about his HIV-positive status.

Sheen admitted that he caught HIV because he was irresponsible but said never contemplated suicided after diagnosis.

The research shows that web searches for condoms, HIV symptoms and HIV testing also rocketed after Sheen's public disclosure.

The study also reveals that all searches regarding HIV were 417% higher than expected the day of Sheen’s disclosure.

The researchers found that media coverage of HIV on the day of Sheen's disclosure ranked in the top 1% with more than 6500 stories on Google News alone as compared to the last seven years,

While no one should be forced to reveal HIV status, they feel that Sheen’s disclosure may benefit public health by helping many people learn more about HIV infection and prevention.

Just as with celebrities Rock Hudson’s and Magic Johnson’s disclosures of their HIV-positive status, Sheen’s disclosure may be similarly reinvigorating awareness and prevention of HIV, the study said.

In 2013, Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy had a similar effect on breast cancer awareness, which led to doubling in NHS referrals for genetic tests of breast cancer risk.

The researchers suggest the 'Charlie Sheen effect' be capitalised on, to further raise HIV awareness.

The research has been published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.