martes, 15 de noviembre de 2011

Magic Johnson, 20 years later

     20 years ago, November 7 1991, Earvin "Magic" Johnson lived one of the worst moments of his life (if not the worst...): in a press release he declared that he was infected from HIV and that because of this, he was withdrawing from the world of sport.

     He discovered he had tested positive for HIV trying to get a life insurance. But, despite these bad news, he felt happy because neither his wife nor their unborn son were infected, and because from that moment on he would dedicate his life to "battle this deadly disease". The world of basketball was shocked and even former US President George H. W. Bush said: "For me, Magic is a hero, a hero for anyone who love sports"

     Johnson initially said that that he didn´t know how he contracted the disease, but later acknoledged that it  was through having multiple sexual partners during his playing career. At the time, only a small percentage of HIV-positive people had contracted from heterosexual sex and it was initially rumored that Magic Johnson was gay or bisexual. Facts he strongly denied.

     Despite of this, he was voted by fans as a starter for the 1992 NBA All-Star Game, although some players argued that they would be at risk of contamination if Johnson suffered an open wound while in court. Finally, he played and the game ended after he made a last-minute three-pointer. Players from both teams ran onto the court to congratulate him.
     He was also chosen to compete in 1992 Summer Olympics that took place in Barcelona (Spain) for the US Basketball team. I guess it goes without saying that the Dream Team (Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen, among others) won without any difficulty.

     Nowadays, Magic Johnson's aim is to "help educate people about what HIV is about" and teach others not to "discriminate against people who have HIV and AIDS". HIV had traditionally been associated with drug addicts and homosexuals, but Johnson's campaign sought to show that the risk of infection was not limited to those groups. First, this is a preventable disease and, secondly, if you get infected, yo can learn to live with it, thanks to antiretrovirals. He has advertised GlaxoSmithKlein's drugs and partnered with Abbott Laboratories to publicize the fight against AIDS in African American Communities, specially those most vulnerable ones because they have more difficult access to health systems and information.

     After announcing his infection in November 91, Johnson created The Magic Johnson Foundation to help combat HIV, although he later diversified the foundation to include other charitable goals. Through his Healthcare Foundation he has opened 7 health centers. He says proudly: "There always be great basketball players but I'm most proud of those moments of my life that affect other people, being a role model for the community"

     But the actor who made a face to AIDS was none other than the great Rock Hudson, who at his death (October 20, 1985)  was one of the responsibles for the collective awareness of the disease's dangers. At the beginning he tried to disguised the disease telling the people he had an inoperable liver cancer. He kept his illness a secret while continuing to work and at the same time travelling to France and other countries seeking a cure, or at least, treatment to slow the progress of the disease. It was not until July 25, 1985, while in Paris for treatment that Hudson issued a press release announcing that he was dying of AIDS. In another press release a month later, he speculated he might have contracted HIV through tranfused blood from an infected donor during his heart bypass. But, finally, People  published a story that discussed his disease in the context of his homosexuality, so it became fully public.
     Rock Hudson just said: "I'm not happy that I am sick. I'm not happy that I have AIDS. But if that is helping others, I can at least know that my own misfortune has had some positive worth"

     One of the biggest lies of Holywood broke like a glass vase: one of the great Hollywood myths, one of the great leading men of all ages turned out to be homosexual and his marriage to his secretary, and his many affairs with other Hollywood stars turned out to be a farce.

     This is the point when it is necessary to difference between being infected with HIV (Magic Johnson's case) and being sick from AIDS (Rock Hudson's case)
A person infected with HIV is HIV positive and developing AIDS occurs when their levels of lymphocytes T CD4 (cells that fight viruses) fall bellow 200 cells per millimeter in blood.

     Today Magic is a symbol for hope. "I'm not still cured but HIV is lethargic in my body"
Finishing one of his conferences in a high-school, a girl, shyly, raised her hand and said: "I have no question indeed. I just want to know if I can go there and give you a hug" "And think that 20 years ago there were people who were afraid of touching me", answered one of the biggest NBA legends. 20 years later, thinking about when nobody wanted to touch him, he still remember who did.

12 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...

Buona sera signorina.

También vengo por recomendación de Maria, de eso se trata un poco esto de conocer gente y hacer amistades.

Me ha gustado tu post, Las enfermedades son menos traumáticas cuando las vemos reflejadas en personajes conocidos, mientras tanto son excluidos de la sociedad.

El miedo y el desconocimiento son enemigos terribles..

Volveré, prego!

Un piacere


Wastewin dijo...

¡Encantada, Sicilia! Mi espacio es tu espacio.

Tengo un amigo que sufre esta enfermedad y está claro que no es lo mismo decir que eres diabético a decir que tienes sida. Así que creí que el aniversario de la declaración de Magic Johnson era un buen momento para dejar claro que, a pesar de la gran cantidad de medicamentos que esta gente tiene que tomar, también llevan una vida como nosotros. Y estoy completamente de acuerdo contigo en que la ignorancia y el miedo son los peores enemigos que cualquier enfermedad puede tener. Ojalá la gente se informase antes de hacer inferencias o dejarse llevar por creencias ilógicas, sin fundamento, simplemente porque alguien le contó.

Vuelve cuando quieras y deja un comentario ;)


Veni Vidi Vici dijo...

First, I want to say that I love the blog's new look. Well done! Second, I cannot believe that it's been 20 years since this was news. Amazing! Luckily, today we know much more than we knew then, yet there's still lots to learn to get rid of the stigma that goes with this disease and its virus. Nice post, as always.

Wastewin dijo...

I like this "agenda" look. It's like I'm going with my agenda everywhere and write down whatever catch my eye...
These are Stories of a Girl Like Any Other: my living book that comes with me everywhere.
Glad you like it!!

About this story: there are so many things we have to learn, so many wrong ideas have to be thrown away, about this disease and others. Hope we can see it one day!!

Kristy K. dijo...

Un comentario rapido para decirte solo que me encanta como has dejado el blog. Te ha quedado todo ordenadisimo y resulta super acogedor :)

Wastewin dijo...

¡Muchas gracias, Kristy!

Un cambio de look nunca viene mal.

Besitos, linda

Rene, Gucci's mom dijo...


I was looking for some interesting blog to follow and found yours! =)
I hope you can visit and follow mine too! Here's my link

see you!


Wastewin dijo...

Hi, Rene!!

It's a pleasure you like my blog. Hope you find my new posts interenting.

I'll follow yo, for sure! Come and visit me everytime you want. You're welcome :)


Skye dijo...

uh..i love love your blog layout so cool!! i don' konw how peolple manage to do great layouts like this:D

Wastewin dijo...

Hi, Skye!!

Thank you so much!! It's been a little bit difficult but with the help of a friend nothing is imposible. Do you have a Twitter account? Follow me there (wastewin7), so I can send you a message :)

Best regards,

María dijo...

Gracias por el comentario que has dejado en mi blog, me parece muy interesante.

Esta enfermedad se ha llevado a muchas personas, interesante tu entrada sobre esta enfermedad infecciosa.

Un beso.

Wastewin dijo...

Muchísimas gracias!! Fíjate qué casualidad que ese mismo año, Freddie Mercury falleció de la misma enfermedad y he escrito sobre él, aunque no centrándome en la enfermedad sino en su faceta como amigo y estrella.


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