In an interview with The Today Show, Charlie Sheen admitted that he is HIV positive. The admission comes after weeks of rumors about an unnamed high-profile actor who had been infected with the disease.

Update: Sheen’s former girlfriend Bree Olson claims Sheen never disclosed that he was HIV positive while they were together.

In the interview Sheen said that he was diagnosed with the disease about four years ago and has been the victim of blackmail at the hands of multiple prostitutes who threatened to expose his condition, including one who took a photo of his medication. Sheen estimates that he paid “enough to bring it into the millions” to keep their silence.

The entire interview:

Despite the fact that he spent years covering up his illness, and despite the fact that he’s only coming forward after the rumors made it impossible to remain silent, Sheen says he hopes to be remembered as someone who opened doors for people with HIV, saying in an open letter that his “partying days” were over and his “philanthropic days are ahead.”

“I have a responsibility now to better myself and to help a lot of other people,” Sheen said in the interview. “And hopefully with what we’re doing today, others may come forward and say, ‘Thanks, Charlie, for kicking the door open.’”

That door’s been open for a few decades now, but I digress.

Sheen also dismissed rumors that he had sexual relationships without alerting his partners to his condition or that he infected any of his partners via unprotected sex (Update: This claim is disputed by former girlfriend Bree Olson).

“Impossible,” said Sheen, who claims he’s only had unprotected sex with two people since his diagnosis. “They were under the care of my doctor and they were completely warned ahead of time.”

Sheen’s doctor, who also appeared on the show, said the 50-year-old actor is completely healthy thanks to HIV medication.

(Source: The AP)

Jason Mathews is Internetting way too hard. Follow him at @jasonmathews316.