WNBA Star Candice Wiggins Takes on a New Mission
December 15, 2010
After tearing her Achilles tendon in June, WNBA star Candice Wiggins returned to Stanford University to complete her communications degree. Though most of her energy was devoted to the five classes she took during fall semester, Wiggins also made time to continue her work promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and research.
Wiggins taped a public service announcement for the NBA timed to coincide with World AIDS Day. In the ad, Wiggins, Pau Gasol of the Lakers, Al Horford of the Hawks, and Russell Westbrook of the Thunder urge people to talk openly about HIV/AIDS and become "part of the solution." In the PSA, Wiggins also touches briefly on the AIDS-related death of her father, Alan Wiggins.
Wiggins was not yet four when her dad, a professional baseball player and a longtime drug user, died of the disease. She recalls how people essentially told her what to think and feel after his death. "I didn't understand what AIDS meant," Wiggins said of the time. "You couldn't even say the word. It was like saying the F-word."
"I always felt that not talking about it, or not understanding it, or not knowing how you get it, isn't going to stop you from getting it. If I knew what happened to my dad, then I could understand it," Wiggins explained.
In addition to the PSA, Wiggins wrote a first-person account for USA Today ahead of World AIDS Day.
"I feel like I'm a pioneer. ... If I can be honest with kids in an optimistic way, that's really powerful. The sooner kids understand this disease and aren't scared of it, the better the results are going to be later," Wiggins said.
San Francisco Chronicle
12.14.2010; Ron Kroichick
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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