Rumors are circulating that a popular A-list actor has been diagnosed with HIV.
Although no one has released the middle-aged heartthrob's identity, recent controversial stories by the Sun and Radar Online have sparked controversy. The Sun has since come under fire for its story, with many calling it irresponsible, and even offensive, reporting.
“It has now become common knowledge that this star is HIV positive, something he has known for a number of years," an anonymous insider reportedly told the Sun. “His lawyers are bracing for the threat of potential action. The reality is that if he’s knowingly put women at risk then that’s disgusting and it’s only a matter of time before that becomes public.”
The actor is a notorious womanizer who has dated an award-winning actress, a religious movie star, a celebrity known for her questionable past, a TV star, a media personality and a model, according to the Sun.
"Lots of people close to him have suggested he face this situation head-on and own it publicly," a source allegedly told the Sun. "Obviously it would be a huge story, but the reality is HIV is entirely treatable in this day and age and shouldn’t impact his ability to work or lead a normal life. It could be a game-changer in the understanding of HIV given that he’s a straight man.”
This star is terrified that the diagnosis could become "a defining quality of his career," a source said, adding that many exes and one-night stands are considering suing him.
Radar Online reported on Nov. 2 that the star has known his condition for at least two years, although medication has successfully kept symptoms at bay so far.
The star thought he was "indestructible" and "led a dangerous lifestyle" by engaging in sex with prostitutes, injecting drugs, and getting tattoos, an alleged friend of the celebrity told Radar Online.
While some may be scrambling to figure out who this mysterious celebrity is, HIV activists are in an uproar.
“At its best this is irresponsible journalism, at its worst an insidious headline grab," Executive Director of External Affairs Shaun Griffin of the Terrence Higgins Trust told the Huffington Post UK. "...The fact is that for anyone diagnosed with HIV, they are given treatment that reduces the amount of HIV virus to an 'undetectable' amount and this means HIV cannot be passed on.
"The fact is that it is utterly wrong to disclose an individual's HIV status without their permission -- though what we are provided with [is] enough information here to effectively identify them.
"Even with the advances made in HIV testing and treatment, this shows that unfounded prejudices still remain. It is attitudes like these that perpetuate HIV stigma.
"Stigma is a dangerous construct and we've seen that it has a damaging effect on individuals and on public health. It can deter people from accessing testing or treatment and can isolate a person living with HIV causing anxiety or depression."