Surprised by the news that Charlie Sheen is HIV positive?

Perhaps not.

After all, he has made a career out of appearing to be promiscuous — he was the epitome of the profligate playboy on Two and A Half Men.

Plus, in his personal life he’s been a decidedly non-celibate celebrity.

But what may be surprising is that he was diagnosed with the disease in his late 40s.

This week, at the age of 50, he went public about the illness because he was being blackmailed into paying extortion money, including by a prostitute who took a picture of the anti-retroviral medication in his bedroom.

RELATED: Charlie Sheen Announces He is HIV Positive

Not exactly a sitcom situation but one that’s a valuable heads up for older people, especially those who have been or are sexually active with more than one partner.

Because age is no protection against AIDS.

A few relevant facts:

– Canadians age 50 and up represented almost one in five (19 per cent) positive HIV tests in 2011.

– Heterosexual contact represented 35 per cent of cases in 2011 and sex between men accounted for another 35 per cent. The majority of the remaining 30 per cent is split evenly between injection drug use and “no identifiable risk”.

– Men represent over 80 per cent — 4 out of 5 —new HIV cases among older Canadians.


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