Maria Mejia, Miami, Fla.; Activist and Peer Educator; Diagnosed in 1991
A few months after I was diagnosed at the age of 18, I saw him on TV making his announcement. Even though I knew of Ryan White, Magic Johnson was someone I related to more. I actually felt I was not the only one in the world with the virus. It was a very difficult time back then; there was much more stigma and ignorance, and people were dying of AIDS constantly. I always relate, and write about, me being diagnosed with the time he came out and said he had HIV. I will always be connected to him in this way. And after these 20 years it is very sad that people still lack information on the virus, and carry so much ignorance and stigma, or self-stigma.Show More
Many people -- young and old -- think he is cured, because he looks good. They are not respecting the virus! I see many posters here in Miami with a picture of him that say, "Living Well With HIV." Well, we are living, fighting and taking our meds, but it is not an easy illness! And I just don't want young people to get the wrong message from this like: "Oh, if I get infected, I will be like Magic Johnson and it's nothing to be worried about." AIDS is a BITCH!