Magic Johnson marks 20 years with HIV

Monday was the 20th anniversary of Magic Johnson's retirement

WRITTEN BY: Janelle Vreeland
Image Source: Rafael Amado Deras via WIkimedia Commons
Earvin

Monday marked the 20th anniversary of Magic Johnson's retirement from the NBA. It also marked the 20th anniversary of Johnson's announcement that he is HIV positive.

The LA Times reports that 20 years ago, at the age of 32, Johnson announced his retirement, saying, "Because of the HIV virus that I have obtained, I will have to retire from the Lakers today." As the site reflects, at the time of Johnson's anouncement, it was assumed that anyone with HIV would eventually contract AIDS and be dead within 10 years. But by using his celebrity status to fund AIDS research, Johnson, and others, are beating those statistics.

"I have to tell you, I'm proudest of my life off the court," Johnson says. "There will always be great basketball players who bounce that little round ball, but my proudest moments are affecting people's lives, effecting change, being a role model in the community."

Thanks to recent advancements in AIDS treatment, the death rate of AIDS has been reduced by 80 percent Newly diagnosed AIDS patients also now have a life expectancy of 20 years.

"I'm not cured, but the HIV is asleep deep in my body," Johnson says. "Every day, I just do what I'm supposed to do. The best doctors and medicine in the world can't save you if you don't do what you're supposed to do."

Read more about Magic Johnson here.

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