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Famous for HIV: Magic Johnson Kicks it Off

Today we thought we’d start a new mini-series on our STD blog. HIV is one of the most common STDs out there. Many people know about HIV and AIDS, but many don’t realize that 1) HIV is technically an STD, 2) Just because you have HIV, it doesn’t mean you have AIDS and 3) Many advancements have been made in the past 20 years to make the situation better for those who test HIV positive.

Looking to Celebs for HIV Guidance

Who better to shed light on a topic in a culture than celebrities? From fashion to pets and footwear, we look to celebs to guide us through many life topics. Sometimes it begins and ends with appearance or what we should serve for dinner. Other times, we look to celebs for much more. Political opinions. Friendship and relationship advice. Name any issue and there’s probably a celebrity that we, as a culture, look to for pointers. So why would it be any different when it comes to HIV?

Although many celebs have been outspoken about their personal health battles, one issue that hasn’t received a ton of exposure is celebs with HIV. Given the occurrence rate of HIV in our culture (over 33 million), it’s likely that many of those individuals who we watch on the silver screen or the boob tube do indeed carry the virus. However in a culture that’s still very “hush hush” about HIV, it tends not to be broadcasted. That is, unless you’re a few brave souls.

Magic Johnson – HIV Positive

magic-johnson-celeb-with-hivThe celeb most notable for being HIV positive is probably basketball player Magic Johnson. On November 7, 1991, he did what many have since done, and many more will do:  broadcasted to the world that he was HIV positive. Once his news was out, fans suddenly grew weary. While he continued to play ball, his all-star reputation became overshadowed by his disease. And amongst the crackdown on sports protection and flurry of activity surrounding how to treat those with HIV, Magic Johnson stood tall. He gracefully and bravely made HIV his mission and opened up the Magic Johnson Foundation, a now 20-year organization that “works to develop programs and support community-based organizations that address the educational, health and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities.” According to the Foundation,

Through the “I Stand with Magic” campaign, the Magic Johnson Foundation has provided free HIV/AIDS testing to more than 38,000 Americans in 16 major cities. Additionally, the program has educated nearly 280,000 people about HIV, risk factors associated with the disease and the importance of HIV testing. Since 2003 our partnership with AIDs Healthcare Clinics has tested over, 3,750 adults and identified positive results for over 1000 testers.

Saluting Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson is a great celeb to look to for inspiration and hope (for any reason) – but especially if you’ve tested HIV positive. Twenty years ago fans and friends never expected he would still be alive today. But his story goes to show that HIV DOES NOT necessarily lead to AIDS. Magic Johnson is living proof.

Take a pointer from Magic Johnson and realize that saving your life could begin with initial HIV testing. New Rapid HIV tests let you know within 20 minutes or less if you have the disease. From there, if positive, you tackle it one day at a time, just like Magic Johnson. Get the right doctors and medications in place. Have a plan. Be committed to treatment. Stay engaged with your life.

There’s hope if you are HIV positive. Being proactive early on will hopefully allow you to be one of the many looking back in 20 years, just like this all-star athlete, and seeing the difference you’ve made on the world.

Read CBS News article from November 2011 – 20 years after Magic Johnson’s HIV Stunner.


posted in Celebs with HIV,HIV and have Comments (14)


  1. Comment by TEST SMARTLY LABS of Jackson on September 24, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Magic Johnson is such an inspiration – he gracefully announced and lives with HIV and continues to advocate for tolerance and understanding of individuals with this STD. Plus he has built organizations to provide a community for others with the same illness.

  2. Comment by TEST SMARTLY LABS Greenville SC on September 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    HIV is not something to run away from, and Magic Johnson is proof of that. It needs to be met head on and battled.

  3. Comment by TEST SMARTLY LABS of Jacksonville on September 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    It’s unfortunate how quickly people’s opinions change when they hear someone is HIV positive, we are so quick to judge. It’s important for people to remember that those who are infected are regular people that are now living with this disease, and should not be viewed as lepers.

  4. Comment by TEST SMARTLY LABS of Lawrence on September 25, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    This is an amazing story of how someone can overcome such adversity and be more successful now than ever.

  5. Comment by David Wilson on September 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Magic Johnson had a problem and as a result turned himself into a hero.

  6. Comment by Steck Eye Care on September 26, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Magic Johnson was a great leader in many ways, I hope many celebrities to come can learn from him and use their popularity for good.

  7. Comment by Accutech Security on September 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    The Magic Johnson Foundation has really done great things to help those who are infected or think they might be. We need more people like him in this world!

  8. Comment by TEST SMARTLY LABS of Seattle on September 27, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    People with HIV can look to Magic for guidance. Many hide from and ignore their condition, while Magic is on the frontlines. He has outlived expectations, and so can they, but they have to fight actively.

  9. Comment by TEST SMARTLY LABS of Irving on October 1, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Magic Johnson is the blueprint for what to do if HIV becomes a part of your life. You can’t hide from it, you have to face it head on.

  10. Comment by Gulledge Family Wellness on October 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    The world needs more people like Magic Johnson! The support he has made available for thousands of Americans speaks wonders.

  11. Comment by TEST SMARTLY LABS of South San Antonio on October 2, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Magic Johnson’s work to support the cause against HIV is admirable. It’s definitely important to get tested if you’re ever in doubt as to if you have the disease.

  12. Comment by ARCpoint Fort Myers on October 3, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    It’s great that Magic Johnson has stepped up in the face of his disease to help support others with the same problem, and to work toward a solution.

  13. Comment by Liberty Orthodontics on October 4, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    We can learn a lot from leaders like Magic especially those that rise up in a hard time to lead.

  14. Comment by TEST SMARTLY LABS of Dayton on October 4, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    There are always hard times in our life and how we react to them is what makes us who we are. Magic is a great example of how to react to a really hard situation.

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