Magic Johnson Talks About On How He ‘Became The Face’ Of HIV

Magic Johnson Talks About On How He ‘Became The Face’ Of HIV

Magic Johnson is a former NBA basketball player who was diagnosed with HIV in 1991 after undergoing a preseason physical with his team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Magic Johnson Publicly Reveals About How He ‘Became The Face’ Of HIV

Johnson revealed his HIV diagnosis at a press conference held in 1991 and announced his retirement from professional basketball. Magic Johnson had just married his wife, Cookie Johnson, who was pregnant with his child Ervin Johnson III (EJ Johnson) when he was diagnosed with HIV. 

Magic Johnson Talks About On How He ‘Became The Face’ Of HIV

At that time HIV was misunderstood as a ‘gay disease’ and the public wasn’t aware of its transmission and who could contract it. Magic Johnson being HIV positive was huge news back then as he was at the peak of his game with the Lakers, and was just married.

He was initially unaware of how he got the disease but later reported to the media that he was sexually involved with multiple partners throughout his basketball career. He says he was relieved when his wife’s and his son’s test reports came out HIV negative.

As there were so many misconceptions about HIV, Johnson decided to speak about it and raise awareness in the general public, especially in the black and brown community.

Johnson participated in the now-famous 1992 Nickelodeon HIV/AIDS special A Conversation With Magic to raise awareness, accompanied by children, some of whom were also HIV positive.

In that show, a 7-year-old girl named Hydeia, who was HIV positive, spoke about her diagnosis, and Johnson comforting her became one of the memorable moments from the show.

In 1991, Magic Johnson founded Magic Johnson Foundation, which focuses on ethnically diverse and urban populations’ educational, health, and social demands.

Even after being away from basketball, fans voted him onto the NBA All-Star team in 1992, so he returned to the court, and was back at knocking down opponents. But he had to again retire from basketball after protest from his fellow teammates. 

For four years, sitting on the couch watching the Lakers play and the desire to be on the court took him back to playing basketball. In 1996, he was back on the court playing again.

Johnson played frequently with the team Lakers for the next few years. After undergoing proper medication and cutting down his cocktail from three times a day to once a day, Johnson was dedicated to fighting the disease as much as he could.

Johnson is still under medication and fighting the disease every day; along with that he is educating the public about the disease and encouraging them to fight against it.

Johnson was told initially when he was diagnosed with HIV that he wouldn’t live for more than 2-3 years, but his determination has brought him to 31 years after being diagnosed and yet full of life.

Johnson made sure to make the most of the available treatment to fight HIV at that time and held on until better medicine came along. Magic Johnson still advocates for HIV and continues to be a philanthropist to save and help as many lives as possible. 

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