New York Daily News (11.30.2013)
The New York Daily News recently reported that HIV-positive NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson told a crowd at Harlem’s Apollo Theater that education is key to learning how to live with the disease. In advance of World AIDS Day, Johnson, who ended his basketball career when he announced in 1991 that he had HIV, said that getting all the right information helped ease his mind and made it easier to accept having the disease.
According to CDC, Harlem’s HIV rates are more than double New York City’s rates, with one out of every 38 residents being HIV-positive. Nationally, African Americans make up approximately 12 percent of the population, but account for 47 percent of all new HIV infections. Almost a quarter of a million Americans have HIV but do not know it.
“You gotta educate yourself. Don’t be afraid to get tested,” Johnson said. “We go to get tested, and then we gotta go back for the results; that’s very important,” said Johnson, 54, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers before his diagnosis. “Because a lot of times we get tested, but we don’t go back for the results.” He added that drug treatment advances make it easier now to live with the disease than when he first became positive 22 years ago.
His message to HIV-positive persons is that the diagnosis does not have to change what you do in life. “Never give up,” he said. “Look at me. You don’t have to give up. You can still live a great life. You can educate the world, educate young people, you can do so many great things, you can still have a family.”