August 25, 2009
Former National Basketball Association player Earvin "Magic" Johnson gave the opening address of the CDC's 2009 HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta, the Southern Voice blog "The Latest" reports. He "spoke frankly about being HIV positive for nearly 20 years," and discussed the impact black religious leaders have on addressing HIV/AIDS in the black community, according to the blog. Johnson said, "We now have a major problem in urban America, in inner cities -- the face of AIDS has changed from a gay white man's disease to a black and [Hispanic] disease. And if we don't get the black church involved, there is no way we can bring these numbers (of new HIV cases) down." The Magic Johnson Foundation "is working to partner with black churches ... because African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by the disease," according to the blog. Johnson said, "We all have to get black churches involved. If we do, we will see change quickly. One constant in the black community is the church" (Bagby, 8/24).