Charlie Sheen‘s HIV-positive announcement seems to be helping others.
As you know, the 50-year-old shared back in November that he had been secretly living with the disease since 2011 — and now, a study from San Diego State University is suggesting that lives are being saved as a result.
How, you may ask?
The report says it’s all in the number of HIV-related searches on Google:
“Since 2004, news reports about HIV decreased from 67 stories per 1,000 to 12 stories per 1,000 in 2015. Sheen’s disclosure also corresponded with the greatest number of HIV-related Google searches ever recorded in the United States.”
And people aren’t just curious about how the diagnosis has affected the Two and a Half Men star:
“About 2.75 million more searches than expected included the term HIV, and 1.25 million searches were directly relevant to public health outcomes because they included search terms for condoms, HIV symptoms, or HIV testing.”
The research team believes that increased awareness is the key to prevention.
In fact, on the day of Sheen’s announcement (November 17, 2015), the search engine saw its largest number of HIV-related searches in more than 10 years. Not to mention the 6,500 news stories published that same day.
John Ayers of SDSU explained what they refer to as “The Charlie Sheen Effect”:
“While no one should be forced to reveal HIV status, Sheen’s disclosure may benefit public health by helping many people learn more about HIV infection and prevention. More must be done to make this benefit larger and lasting … 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.”
Looks like Sheen’s desire to influence others is happening after all!
Happy to see a silver lining here.
[Image via WENN.]