Earvin "Magic" Johnson receives award for raising AIDS/HIV awareness
World AIDS Day
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson received the inaugural World AIDS Day Magic Award from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation Sunday at Staples Center, honoring his work raising awareness about HIV and AIDS prevention, care and treatment.
Johnson, who announced in 1991 that he tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS, is the founder and chairman of the nonprofit Magic Johnson Foundation, whose mission includes making donations to community-based organizations that focus on HIV/AIDS education and prevention.
"Who would have ever thought that 20 years later, here I am and we're still trying to help people,'' Johnson said after receiving the award in a suite at Staples Center before the Los Angeles Lakers-Indiana Pacers game.
"This disease is a deadly disease, but I think now, where we couldn't talk about it 20 years ago in open, now we can talk openly about it. We can have awards like tonight at the Staples Center. What a blessing that is.''
Johnson said awareness of AIDS "has definitely gone up'' since he announced in 1991 he was HIV positive. Another positive change was that then there was only one drug for people who are HIV positive or have AIDS and now there more than 30, Johnson said.
The presentation was made in connection with Wednesday's World AIDS Day.
In an interview following the ceremony, Johnson advised people to be tested to determine if they have the virus that causes AIDS.
"A lot of people are walking around with HIV and don't know they have it,'' Johnson said.
"People really don't know that they have HIV until it's too late. If you properly get tested, you can live like me for a long time.
"Normally, what happens is you catch it late and then the medicine can't help you.''
Johnson also recommended that people educate themselves.
"If you have the right information, then you can properly educate somebody else,'' Johnson said.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein told reporters that Johnson is "the ultimate symbol of living well with HIV.''
"The message we want to get out to people is get tested,'' Weinstein said. "If you're positive, get treated. It's not a death sentence. You can get quality care regardless of your ability to pay.''
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation operates 71 free health care centers in 22 nations. Five are named for Johnson, including one in the Jefferson Park neighborhood.
"Michael and I will be standing here for a long time,'' Johnson said.
"Hopefully one day we can say there's a cure.''
By Steven Herbert | City News Service
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Officials and activists are encouraging the public to be tested for the virus that causes AIDS, increase their awareness of the disease and contact the White House and Congress in connection with today's World AIDS Day.
The Los Angeles city government will hold its commemoration of World AIDS Day at the JW Marriott at LA Live, with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa among the scheduled speakers.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Free HIV testing will be offered and panel discussions will be held in Los Angeles County in connection with Saturday’s 25th observance of World AIDS Day, whose theme is “Working Together for an AIDS-Free Generation.”
Free HIV testing will be offered noon-6 p.m. at L.A. Live, 3-5 p.m. at the AIDS Monument in Lincoln Park in Lincoln Heights and 7-11 p.m. at the Sweet Dreams Dessert Lounge in Whittier.
The Magic Johnson Foundation (MJF) recently announced the launch of Point Forward Day, a national day of awareness and action to celebrate its 20 years of impact.
The Foundation’s 20th anniversary campaign (MJF:20) will kick off with a press conference featuring Earvin “Magic” Johnson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Nov 7, exactly 20 years to the date that one of the world’s greatest basketball players announced his HIV status and subsequent retirement from the NBA.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Information about HIV and AIDS will be distributed at the Los Angeles Clippers game at Staples Center tonight in an attempt to reduce stigma surrounding the disease.
Staff and volunteers from the Black AIDS Institute and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will distribute custom informational materials and connect fans with local services at what has been dubbed LOS ANGELES>AIDS game night.
Evidence is mounting that it is possible to control the virus that causes AIDS with early treatment, so further therapy is not immediately needed.
A recent study in the journal PLOS Pathogens reports that 14 patients with HIV, who received antiretroviral treatment within 10 weeks of infection, had their viral loads decreased so much that scientists say they are “functionally cured.”