In 1991 Los Angeles Lakers star Earvin “Magic” Johnson announces he’s tested HIV-positive and is retiring from basketball. His announcement is considered the first time the Black community begins talking openly about AIDS. Today, both Johnson and his wife, Cookie, work tirelessly with The Magic Johnson Foundation and Abbott, a leader in HIV/AIDS research and therapies, and the “I Stand With Magic,” campaign to promote awareness and the benefits of early detection.
“When people hear our voices, we want them to hear our message about getting tested,” said Johnson, who’s led the effort to test 30,000 people. “We have to continue reinforcing the message, especially with our young people.” His wife agrees. “Getting tested should be part of your annual physical, especially if you’re sexually-active,” she says. “It should be thought about as part of normal life, not as a taboo.”