Charlie sheen made the headlines after he publicly announced that he's HIV positive. Fans were caught off guard though some were already aware of his condition. Though there is not cure for HIV just yet, his gesture to publicly step out and talk about his condition, however, shook the medical world.
After Sheen's announcement, HIV awareness made a positive increase in terms of educating the public. Charlie Sheen's HIV announcement on Nov. 16 created a huge impact which resulted to high numbers in HIV-related online searches in the United States, according to ABC News
A study focusing "News and Internet Searches About Human Immunodeficiency Virus After Charlie Sheen's Disclosure" was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine. The lead author John Ayers of San Diego State University in California and the rest of his team came to a conclusion that there's a 540 percent increase in searches related to HIV symptoms after Sheen made his announcement. Aside from the symptoms a drastic increase in the searches related to HIV also climb up 214 percent.
The team acquired the statistics through Google trends, news trends and Bloomberg Terminal. "The difference between this effect and the effect from other celebrities such as Magic Johnson announcing their HIV status is that now everyone has a smartphone in his or her pocket, there is instant access to information, I hope that this will lead us to look for ways to prolong this effect," Ayers told reporters during his interview with ABC News.
According to Dr Barron Lerner, an internist and historian of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center, famous patients tend to create and raise awareness on a certain sickness or disease because of their social influence. "It always helps to get people to think about something anew when there's a particular case, over and over when a celeb comes forward on a disease...it's an opportunity again for people who are interested in it to revisit it," he said during his interview.