UK condom brand signs Charlie Sheen as spokesperson
Star is 'proud to have turned something that seemed so completely negative and life disruptive into change and healing' with last year's admission he is HIV positive
Lelo, a London-based sex toy company, has signed up actor Charlie Sheen as the brand ambassador for its new condom product, Lelo Hex.
Sheen, who revealed in a TV interview last year he was HIV positive, stars in a launch video for the condom.
In it, the "Two and a Half Men" star speaks talks about the issue some people have with using condoms.
"I think people associate the word 'condom' with less pleasure, with less connection," he says. "What may feel like five seconds of inconvenience, or a halted, or thwarted moment can absolutely prevent a lifetime of potential grief and suffering."
He continues that a lot of people hold the "fantasy belief" that they will never contract a sexually-transmitted disease or infection.
"I pretty much felt the same way: That's stuff for other people," Sheen says.
Sheen goes on to talk about the reaction people had to the news that he was HIV positive: Web searches went up and he says his confession opened up a dialog about the virus. Lelo says on its website that happened at a time when there had been a "steady decline in interest" in conversations about condom usage since 2006.
"That was powerful and when that happened I was proud to have turned something that seemed so completely negative and life disruptive into change and healing. Just to put words on it is empowering and is a sense of relief," Sheen says.
Sheen said in an interview last year he publicly admitted he had HIV in an attempt to stop people blackmailing him into paying them money in order to keep their silence about his illness. He revealed he had paid out "enough to take it into the millions".
In the Lelo video, which was produced by creative agency Alpha Century, Sheen suggests discovering he had the disease has led to him cutting back on his famous rock and roll lifestyle.
In an interview with "Extra's" AJ Calloway, Sheen explained he was feeling healthier: "Exercise, diet… don’t go on benders anymore, don’t drink as much ... It was the combination of a lot of the self-loathing a lot of the shame behind it that I just wanted to keep myself divorced from reality… I just woke up one day and said, ‘I deserve better.'"
Sheen also says he has tried the condom himself, although he is not currently dating.
The Lelo Hex differs from normal condoms because the it has a hexagonal web of panels threaded throughout the latex. The company says this type of structural design allows the condom to be thin, but strong like graphene.
The Lelo Hex isn't yet available. Lelo is crowd-funding the project and is aiming to attract 10,000 to get the launch off the ground — pledging anything from £9 (US$12) for a 12-pack to at £799 (US$1,130) package that includes a Lelo gift bag and the chance to meet the company's founder at its HQ.
The project currently has more than 2,400 backers.
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