Magic Aims to Rid Black Community of Aids

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who announced he was HIV-positive in Nov. 1991, launched a campaign Friday that aims to eliminate the disease from the black community, where it affects people in alarming numbers.

    "I Stand with Magic: Campaign to End Black AIDS," a joint effort between the Magic Johnson Foundation and Illinois-based HIV research leader Abbott Laboratories, Inc., has set a goal of reducing new HIV infections in the black community by 50 percent over five years.     

"I have seen the numbers of HIV infections continue to rise in the minority community and the time is now to take action in helping to lower those numbers," said Johnson.     

The program "encourages African-Americans of all ages to stand with me and fight HIV/AIDS by getting tested, getting test results and encouraging at least four friends or family members to do the same," Johnson said.     

As for Magic’s own health, "He’s doing wonderful. He’s been blessed,” Towalame Austin, president of the Magic Johnson Foundation, told The Associated Press. “The key is that he takes his meds and exercises regularly."     

"The virus is undetectable in his system, meaning that it’s just asleep. He takes three medications, including Kaletra. He has been on Kaletra since 1991," she said.     

Abbott developed the first licensed test to detect HIV antibodies in the blood and is investing $100 million in developing countries to advance HIV testing, treatment and support services, according to the press release.     

"HIV is now having a disproportionate effect on the African-American community, which accounts for more than half of all new HIV infections," said Abbott CEO Miles D. White. "Getting people tested is the first line of defense.

Reprinted with permission: