As was widely rumored yesterday following NBC’s official notice that Charlie Sheen would be making a “revealing personal announcement,” the 50-year-old actor has come forward to confirm that he is HIV positive. “I am here to admit that I am in fact HIV positive,” Sheen told Matt Lauer.

Sheen said he was diagnosed over four years ago after experiencing severe migraines and has been receiving treatment for HIV for over a year. He claims that the virus is undetectable in his blood stream, though doctors have said that once you have HIV, you have it for life. The actor did admit to having sexual contact with multiple partners since his diagnosis, but says they were all “warned ahead of time” regarding his condition. Because his because blood tests didn’t reveal the presence of HIV, Sheen says it’s “impossible” he passed it on to any of his sexual partners. Whether or not this is a legitimate defense and truly eliminates transmission of the virus is the cause of some medical debate.

Sheen says he decided to speak out at this time because of the “barrage” of attacks and speculation in the media about his health. Over the past few years, Sheen says he has been extorted by people who knew about his condition, paying “millions” to keep people quiet, including a prostitute who took photos of his anti-viral medications and threatened to sell them to the tabloids. When asked if he was still paying these people, Sheen replied, “Not after today, I’m not.”

The changes in Sheen’s physical appearance in recent years have been quite noticeable, though most attributed his gaunt features to years of drug and alcohol abuse. Following the erratic behavior and various rehab stints that led to his exit from Two and a Half Men back in 2011, the actor made a soft comeback with FX’s Anger Management series. Sheen says his behavior during those controversial years was due in no small part to his diagnosis and his subsequent depression.

Sheen’s appearance on the Today show to declare this intimate battle seems solemnly appropriate given how highly-publicized and well-documented his struggles have been throughout the years.

That resurgence was tenuous at best, and since Anger Management’s final episode last December, Sheen has remained virtually absent from the public eye.

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