What's one of the most persistent HIV-related myths? It would have to be the idea that, because Magic Johnson appears healthy, he must be cured of HIV. Sadly, the news that people living with HIV can take meds and stay healthy -- with a near-average life span -- has not yet trickled down to the general public.
Last year, the basketball legend appeared on Hip-Hop Nation on SiriusXM Radio where he shared a few things he wants the general public to know about his HIV status.
After recounting to host Renada Romain that, upon being diagnosed, he didn't know whether he would even be alive two decades later, Romain asked him to clear up some myths, especially the myth that he was cured of HIV.
"I'm glad you brought this up, because first of all I do have it and have had it for 22 years. It's just laying asleep in my body. The drugs have done their part and I've done my part by exercising and having a positive attitude about having HIV," Johnson explained.
He also addressed rumors that he had gone to Kenya (among various other nations) to see a witch doctor. For the record: He did not travel anywhere to see a witch doctor.
The real reason he looks so healthy? Johnson is just on HIV treatment, which is easier to tolerate and better at fighting HIV than ever before. "The same 30-something drugs are available to everybody else. I'm on three of them," Johnson said.
He takes his pills after dinner every day. His success has nothing to do with him being cured or seeing a medicine man.
Johnson also addressed his impact on the national conversation about HIV, as well as on conversations within the black community. He said, when it comes to HIV, he's been both a blessing and a curse. He felt that his healthy appearance and positive demeanor helped dispel HIV stigma, but also caused some people to take HIV less seriously.
Some of Johnson's rhetoric is a little unclear, and he may not have all his facts straight, but for those who still hold on to the belief that he may be cured, it's time to drop that mistaken notion.
Unfortunately, one issue that is not addressed in this radio interview is that black, gay men face some of the most alarming HIV rates in the country.
Watch the video below to hear what Johnson has to say about his life with HIV.
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