Last Updated Nov 20, 2015 2:03 PM EST
Actress Jenny McCarthy is kicking up controversy by asking why Charlie Sheen -- who revealed this week he's been HIV positive for four years -- did not have to divulge his health information before kissing scenes.
McCarthy said on her Sirius XM show "Dirty Sexy Funny" this week, "Before we do a job, we have to sign a piece of paper that says, 'Do you have cold sores?'"
After appearing on the TV series "Two and a Half Men" with Sheen, she feels he should have disclosed his HIV status.
"Now, being on 'Two and a Half Men' myself... and playing a love interest, you would think that there would be some type of, I don't want to say, not a criminal issue, but I don't even know how to feel about that," McCarthy said, implying that he might have put co-stars at risk from an on-screen kiss, even though it's well established that HIV cannot be transmitted through kissing.
"If I had to be up front about a herpe, how could you not be up front about HIV?" she asked. "I look back and I'm like, OK, that would have been valuable information. I mean, look how many people have played his love interest on the show."
Sheen's manager, Mark Burg, told People, "Charlie was infected long after he left 'Two and a Half Men' and long after he worked with Jenny."
McCarthy, who has infamously taken on health issues including autism (her son Evan has the condition) and vaccines, has a history of giving discredited medical information and advice.
She even seemed to admit that she realized HIV cannot actually be spread through a kiss.
"Look how many people have played his love interest on the show. I mean, not that you can obviously get it through kissing," she said.
Yet that didn't stop her from raising the type of unfounded fears that public health officials and HIV/AIDS activists have spent decades trying to dispel.
"Kissing is not considered a behavior that poses a risk for HIV transmission," said Jeff Bailey, director of Client Services at AIDS Project Los Angeles.
The CDC says the virus cannot spread through a "casual kiss." HIV is spread in the United States mainly through having sex with someone who has HIV, including anal sex (the highest-risk sexual behavior) and vaginal sex. Having multiple partners or having sexually transmitted infections can raise a person's chances of HIV infection through sex.
The HIV virus is also spread by sharing needles, syringes, or other injection drug-related equipment with an infected person.
The CDC says the only potential risk from kissing might come through deep, open-mouth kissing if a person with HIV has sores or bleeding gums and blood is exchanged.
HIV is also not spread through the air or water, insects like mosquitoes or ticks, tears, or sweat. Casual contact, like shaking hands, hugging or sharing dishes and drinking glasses, water fountains, and toilet seats will not spread HIV, the CDC says. The virus does not live long outside the human body.
People with HIV who are taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) drugs as directed by their doctor, as Sheen says he is, are often able reduce the virus to a low or undetectable level in their body and are very unlikely to transmit the virus to uninfected partners.
In a tweet posted later, McCarthy attempted to clarify her comments. "I am very aware that HIV is not spread through kissing," she wrote, "but I also believe that if an actress has to disclose all of her business before kissing a male costar, that actor should be required to disclose something as major as an HIV infection too."
That logic, however, is undercut by the fact that herpes can be spread through kissing, while HIV cannot.
On her Sirius XM show, McCarthy expressed disgust about her former co-star. "The fact that you know, playing even his love interest on the show back in the day, I go like 'Ick, uck.' That's not fair. And scary," she said.
She said she has sympathy for Sheen, "But man, he's gonna have to take some major accountability with many people in his life."