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Charlie Sheen appeared live on The Today Show on Tuesday morning and confirmed a rumor that has been floating around the Internet for days:

The actor is HIV positive.

After thanking host Matt Lauer and his team of producers to open this exclusive interview, Sheen came right out and said the following:

I’m here to admit that I am in fact HIV positive.

He then paused momentarily and explained why he chose to come clean now.

"I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks and of sub-truths and very harmful and mercurial stories that are about me, threatening the health of so many others, which couldn’t be further from the truth."

So… what is the truth?

Sheen was diagnosed with the illness that leads to AIDS about four years ago.

He tells Lauer that he told a "trusted" group of people close to him, though a new report alleges that Sheen’s HIV status has been an open secret in Hollywood for a long time.

"I thought I had a brain tumor," Sheen says of how he ended up at the doctor’s office back in 2011.

"I thought it was over. After a battery of tests and spinal taps, all that crap, they walked in the room and said, ‘Boom. Here’s what’s going on.’

"It’s a hard three letters to absorb. It’s a turning point in one’s life."

That’s for sure.

At one point, Sheen says he has shelled out millions in blackmail, betrayal and extortion demands.

He admits to hiring prostitutes. He says he confessed his health problems to people in his "inner circle" because he believed they would be "helpful," only for them to shake him down.

Why did Sheen continue to bring unsavory types to his home, even after previous encounters resulted in these shakedowns?

"Because I was so depressed by the condition I was in… I was doing a lot of drugs, I was drinking way too much, I was making really bad decisions."

Did Sheen have unprotected sex since his diagnosis? Could he have transmitted the disease?

Watch the revealing interview below for answers to these questions and react to this bombshell now.