Getty Images North America 1 / 26
Getty Images North America 1 / 26

Charlie Sheen has confirmed widespread reports that he is HIV positive.

"It's a hard three letters to absorb. It's a turning point in one's life," he said during a sit-down interview with Matt Lauer on the "Today" show on Nov. 17.

"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, that threaten the health of so many others that couldn't be further from the truth," Charlie said.

The actor explained that he's not sure how he got the disease but that he was diagnosed four years ago.

"It started with what I thought was a series of crushing headaches. I thought I had a brain tumor. I thought it was over," he said.

Charlie, who says he's had unprotected sex with two people since his diagnosis, both of whom knew about the risk and are seeing doctors, also discussed the reported millions of dollars he felt forced to pay to prevent the public from discovering the truth.

"What people forget is that it's money taken from my children," he said. "I trusted them and they were deep in my inner circle, and I thought they could be helpful … my trust turned to their treason."

He admitted he hopes talking about the diagnosis on "Today" will end the drive for hush money.

"That's my goal. That's not my only goal. I think I release myself from this prison today," he said. "I have a responsibility now to better myself and to help a lot of other people and hopefully with what we're doing today others will come forward and say, 'Thanks, Charlie.'"

This is the first time the troubled star has spoken out about his health since rumors that he is HIV positive surfaced earlier this year.

The chatter reached a head on Nov. 16 when the National Enquirer published an explosive report on the "Two and a Half Men" alum.

According to the Enquirer, which conducted an 18-month investigation before breaking the news about the 50-year-old's health battle, the troubled star has known for four years that he has HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

"Charlie thought he was indestructible and took no precautions -- even though he was indulging in high-risk sex practices," a source told the tabloid.

"Charlie had sex with multiple partners since learning his HIV status without informing them of his potentially deadly HIV infection," the source added.

"Charlie hired escorts, and him being HIV positive never entered these women's minds," claims another Enquirer source.

The tabloid also reports that its sources were given lie-detector tests by an independent polygrapher.

The publication also claims to have obtained a text from Brooke Mueller, 38 -- Charlie's third ex-wife and the mother of his 6-year-old twin sons Max and Bob -- in which she says that the actor may have "potentially" given her the virus.

On Nov. 16, Charlie's ex-girlfriend Bree Olson -- a former porn star once known as one of the actor's "goddesses" -- tweeted about being tested. "Recorded myself for half an hour being tested for HIV and getting the results," she wrote. "This is so stressful."

Questions about the "Anger Management" star's health arose in early November when a tabloid report about an unidentified A-list actor being HIV positive went viral. Though no one in particular was named in the report, the description of the afflicted individual drew comparisons to the four-time Emmy nominee.

Charlie, who usually maintains an active presence on Twitter, has been completely silent on the social media platform since Oct. 29, when he re-tweeted a fan-drawn portrait of himself.