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Doctors discuss HIV situation in Wisconsin

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Actor Charlie Sheen made a stunning revelation Tuesday morning.

During an interview on N-B-C's Today Show, Sheen says he was diagnosed with H-I-V four years ago.

Charlie Sheen, Actor, said, "I am in fact HIV-positive."

It's a tough thing to admit on national television, but for Charlie Sheen, he says a weight has been lifted.

And he's not alone.

Mark Gifford, President & CEO of AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, said, "The news about Charlie Sheen's HIV status today is a reminder to us all that HIV remains engulfing our societies, it's the most serious public health threat of our time."

Carlos Figueroa Castro, Infectious Diseases Doctorat Agnesian Health Care, "Still having 40,000 new infections every year in this country which I think shouldn't be happening in the first place, so I think its still a big issue."

And certainly an issue in Wisconsin. Here are the facts. According to the Department of Health Services, 226 new cases of HIV infection were diagnosed last year in Wisconsin.

The average has been 250 new diagnoses per year.

At the start of this year, nearly seven-thousand people were living with H-I-V or AIDS in Wisconsin.

In 2012, 127 people with H-I-V died.

Gifford said, "Wisconsin has seen a reduction of the record high number if HIV infections in the early 1990's."

But that doesn't mean it's not a concern.

Castro said, "Still a problem, still people getting infected despite all efforts, despite having good medications to treat the disease, despite having a good set of knowledge on how it gets transmitted, how to prevent it."

Experts say Sheen's announcement is opening doors for important discussion of the topic.

Figueroa said, "It's always important to let people know that the disease is out there, that are still people getting infected."

Sheen said, "I have a responsibility now to better myself and to help a lot of other people."

Until there's a cure, experts say it's something to work on.


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