In today’s episode of Dr. Oz, a show about fake medicine, Charlie Sheen sat down with the once-esteemed physician to talk about going off his HIV medication in order to seek alternative treatment in Mexico.
The pre-taped segment followed Sheen on trips to doctors—both legitimate and, well, not so legitimate—and the actor offered his thoughts on quitting standard antiretroviral therapy (ART), despite its effectiveness:
“I’m been off my meds for about a week now. Am I risking my life? Sure. So what? I was born dead. That part of it doesn’t phase me at all. I told my mom on Day 1 that this disease picked the wrong guy if it wanted to stay alive.”
Dr. Oz follows Sheen to the Mexico-based office Dr. Sam Chachoua, a doctor who is not licensed to practice in the United States. That’s probably in part because Chachoua claims that he can cure both cancer and AIDS. Chachoua also claims to be working on an HIV vaccine.
Though the man is definitely a quack, he’s undoubtedly committed to the scam. At one point Chachoua shares that he’s injected some of Sheen’s blood into his own bloodstream. “I drew some blood from him and I injected myself with it and I said, ‘Charlie, if I don’t know what I’m doing, then we’re both in trouble now aren’t we?’” he says. Sheen says that he watched Chachoua inject the blood.
Chachoua then claims to have cured Sheen. Unsurprisingly, Sheen was not cured and the detectable numbers of HIV in his blood had skyrocketed since quitting ART. Sheen said:
“I didn’t see it as Russian roulette. I didn’t see it as a complete dismissal of the conventional course we’ve been on. I’m not recommending that anyone – I’m presenting myself as a type of guinea pig.”
The whole segment is admittedly disturbing, but also a persistent reminder that AIDS and HIV denialist still exist and there will always be doctors willing to hawk an empty (and potentially lethal) promise for the sake of money. In the end, Oz convinces Sheen to return to his real physician—the one who actually has a license—and resume ART. “I’m gonna take them on the flight home,” Sheen responds, “what am I, an idiot?”
Sheen’s manager told People that the actor began taking his medication on December 8, after the Oz segment was taped.