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EXCLUSIVE: Kathy Ireland Says Elizabeth Taylor Ran a Safe House to Get Drugs to HIV Patients

by Raphael Chestang 2:48 PM PST, December 01, 2015
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Kathy Ireland Says Elizabeth Taylor Ran a Safe House to Get Drugs to HIV Patients

In honor of World AIDS Day, Kathy Ireland and Ricki Lake weighed in on Charlie Sheen's HIV announcement and opened up to ET about past celebrities who were instrumental in helping HIV patients.

"My heart and our prayers go out to [Sheen] and for everybody who is dealing with this," Ireland told ET. "It's heartbreaking."

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"I think it was incredibly brave of him," Lake added. "It's good anytime we can raise awareness."

Lake was particularly impressed with the way Sheen made the announcement by revealing he was on treatment since the point of diagnosis.

"It's really hard to transmit the disease when you're on the medication," Lake said.

Lake and Ireland have been leading the charge on raising HIV/AIDS awareness. Lake teamed up with four social media stars for a trip to Malawi to film the documentary, Treatment for All, which was also the first documentary launched on Facebook.

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"These children have nothing," Lake said. "They are orphaned by AIDS and all of their parents have died from this disease. They have nothing really but the clothes on their back and this opportunity to be educated, and yet they are so filled with joy and hope. I really take a huge responsibility for being able to do some good and be able to help these people that are our neighbors. Yes, they're across the world, but they're just like us."

Ireland carries the torch passed on to her by her mentor, the late actress Dame Elizabeth Taylor. Before her death in 2011 at the age of 79, Taylor founded the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation to fund prevention and education and to direct care and services to people living with AIDS. Ireland revealed to ET that Taylor's activism work didn't stop there. According to Ireland, Taylor developed a secret underground network to get experimental HIV drugs to patients similar to the true story in the movie, Dallas Buyers Club.

WATCH: Elizabeth Taylor was Kathy Ireland's Mentor

"Talk about fearless in her home in Bel-Air," Ireland said. "It was a safe house. A lot of the work that she did, it was illegal, but she was saving lives. It was in a time when it was not something to do. Business associates pleaded with her, 'Leave this thing alone.' She received death threats. Friends hung up on her when she asked for help, but something that I love about Elizabeth is her courage."

Since its founding, the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation has given tens of millions of dollars to hundreds of organizations in more than 30 countries.

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