Magic Johnson says he’s now known just as much for his AIDS activism and investments in African American communities as his days as one of the top basketball players in the country. Johnson retired from basketball when he announced he was HIV-positive in 1991. (And then un-retired, re-retired, un-re-retired, and finally retired.)
“Who would ever have thought that somebody would admire you and it’s not about basketball,” Johnson said with a laugh. “I haven’t played in 15 to 20 years and now when people come up to me it’s never about basketball. I guess I’ve turned the page on another chapter in my life.”
It began when Johnson met Elizabeth Glaser, the wife of actor Paul Michael Glaser and an early AIDS advocate who was dying of the disease, shortly after his announcement in November 1991. Glaser begged Johnson to become the face of the disease.
Johnson not only became a spokesman for treatment of the disease, he also founded the Magic Johnson Foundation, which has worked to promote more testing and give minority communities better access to treatment. Johnson has lent his name to five clinics that AHF has opened around the country in mostly African-American communities.
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Johnson has also worked to integrate his activism with his basketball career.
Now the NBA meets with each team during training camp to discuss HIV and AIDS, and has sponsored a “Get Tested” campaign. Johnson was joined at a clinic opening in North Miami Beach by Alonzo Mourning and taped a public service announcement with Yao Ming for broadcast in China. Gasol has traveled to Angola and South Africa to promote AIDS awareness, an interest he relates to Johnson’s announcement.
In other World AIDS day news, perhaps geared to those who don’t know all the anchors of ESPN’s SportsCenter, Mondo Guerra, second place winner of Project Runway (he was robbed, y’all) has designed a t-shirt to benefit AIDS research.
There’s a reason Mondo Guerra shared his story about being HIV positive on the reality show “Project Runway.” It’s just at the time, he wasn’t quite sure what it was.
In hindsight, though, Guerra thinks he was compelled to it because “now I have the ability to bring attention to a cause,” he says.
“Things happen for a reason,” he adds. “Now that this is my life now, it has brought some opportunities. I think it’s inspired a lot of other people to be courageous and step forward.”
But you don’t have to be a world-class basketball player or a should-have-been-first-place fashion designer to make a huge impact on AIDS activism. The New York Times looks at college-age activists, and how they are making a difference:
Roughly a quarter-century after gay men rose up to demand better access to H.I.V. medicines, a new breed of AIDS advocate is growing up on college campuses. Unlike the first generation of patient-activists, this latest crop is composed of budding public health scholars. They are mostly heterosexual. Rare is the one who has lost friends or family members to the disease. Rather, studying under some of the world’s most prominent health intellectuals, they have witnessed the epidemic’s toll during summers or semesters abroad, in AIDS-ravaged nations like Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
The students have also befriended a longtime veteran of the AIDS wars, Gregg Gonsalves, who at 47 is completing his undergraduate degree in evolutionary biology on a full scholarship at Yale. Mr. Gonsalves often lectures public-health classes on what he calls “ancient history” — the work of groups like Act Up in the 1990s.
“Theirs is not a first-person commitment, in the sense that none of them is living with H.I.V.,” Mr. Gonsalves said of the new AIDS protesters. “It’s all based out of a sense of solidarity and social justice. I used to wonder where the next generation would come from. They’re here.”
Mini-Roundup: And in case you’re wondering why Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga and other celebrities aren’t Tweeting today, it’s because they are keeping silent until a million dollars is raised for Keep A Child Alive, a charity that purchases AIDS drugs for India and Africa. The campaign image of Kardashian in a coffin, with the words “Kim Kardashian IS DEAD” is a little…questionable, considering by “dead” they mean she’s just not sending little messages over the interwebs.
- Argentina opens debate on abortion – The Press Association
- Hairstylists Join Fight Against HIV – Wall Street Journal
- No refuge for women with AIDS – The Express Tribune
- Pentagon Study: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Count on Too Much – Politics Daily
- Doctor sees hope in battle against AIDS – Providence Journal
- Pope’s infalibility subject to question – TCU Daily Skiff
- College Campuses Are Producing a New Style of AIDS Activist – New York Times
- Nebraska late-term abortion doctor to practice in Md. facility – Baltimore Sun
- Push to overhaul sex ed in Boston schools – NECN
- Creating an AIDS-Free Generation – Huffington Post
- Wednesday is World AIDS Day – WGMD Radio
- Revised Women Veterans Bill of Rights Appears to Exclude Abortion – LifeNews.com
- Black Abortion: Genocide or Uplift? – Huffington Post
- World Aids Day plea – The Guardian
- Local men walk a mile in her shoes – Blue Mountains Gazette
- Today’s Lady News: Dolly Parton Is The Voice Of Reason In America – The Frisky (blog)
- South Carolina survey positive on single-gender classes – Reuters
- Statement By UN Women Leader Michelle Bachelet on International Day on … – Common Dreams (press release)
- Proposal for More Protection of Lesbian, Gay, Transgender Persons Stalled in … – UK Gay News (press release)
- Larger families: Your comments – BBC News
- Human Rights Watch Pushes Legalizing Abortion in Argentina – LifeNews.com
- Vigil remembers massacre – Mississauga
- John Boehner hangs out with Randall Terry – Salon
- World AIDS Day kicks off a day early (Photos) – Washington Post (blog)
- Boston Superintendent of Schools Delays Decision to Set up Single-Sex Academies – Ms. Magazine
- Moral claims flout law – The Spokesman Review
- Punjab has highest number of drug users HIV infected – Punjab Newsline
- SIDS and the cold weather connection – Examiner.com
- Tanzania to receive maternal health grant – East African
- Magic still making impact off court – FOXSports.com
- More Older People Contracting HIV/AIDS – Voice of America
- Pro-Abortion Stalwart to Lead Democrats’ 2012 Senate Efforts – LifeNews.com
- ‘Runway’ Designer Does T-Shirts for World AIDS Day – ABC News
- Anti-abortion group Americans United for Life lobbies against Rep. Fred Upton – Politico (blog)
- Group says late-term abortion clinic opening in Germantown – Washington Post
- John Boehner hangs out with Randall Terry – Salon
- LeRoy Carhart Will Start Late-Term Abortions in Maryland Soon – LifeNews.com
- HIV and the NHS – a new relationship? – Financial Times
- High School students asked to participate in teen pregnancy survey – Princeton Daily Clarion
- HIV-infected woman fights for a cause – Times of India
- As World AIDS Day Approaches, State Estimates 135000 Floridians have HIV/AIDS – Sunshine State News (blog)
- Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS Mark World AIDS Day with Commitment to … – MarketWatch (press release)
- More living with HIV than ever before – NZAF (Photos) – 3News NZ
- Kim Kardashian Plays Dead in World AIDS Day Ad – Passport Magazine (blog)
- Too many women and children still without HIV treatment, says Unicef – The Guardian
- Female Condoms Unpopular Among Liberian Women – Voice of America
- Big majority of Filipinos back RH bill – Manila Times
- Pakistan ‘tackling maternal and infant mortality’ – International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics
- AIDS awareness boosts global health funding – AFP
- On World AIDS Day, ISO Highlights Importance of Condom Standards – HealthNewsDigest.com
- Senegal: Law Promotes Violence Against Homosexuals – Decriminalize Consensual … – AllAfrica.com
- Alq. parents cautious about condoms and students – NewsWest9.com
- Civility and reasonableness in RH debate – Malaya
- Oncologists need to play a role in public education on HPV vaccination – Cancer Network
- Anti-viral drug demonstrates ability to retard growth of cervical cancer cells – Cancer Network
- HIV prevention jeopardised by call for arrest of gays – Mail & Guardian Online
- The Morning Plum – Washington Post (blog)