HIV/AIDS Is No Longer a Death Sentence

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I am positive; the simplest statement suddenly carries a huge weight when the words HIV or AIDS are followed right after. In the 1980’s HIV meant AIDS and AIDS meant a rapid and awful death. Death always seemed to be the end result in a world where we did not understand the disease that seemed to come from nowhere but was killing at an expedited rate. Thirty plus years later there is still no cure but there is now hope. Having HIV or AIDS is no longer an immediate death sentence. People infected with the virus can live a long and relatively normal life (2).

On November 7th, 1991, NBA star Ervin “Magic” Johnson announced that he tested positive for HIV and was retiring from basketball (7). Twenty plus years later Mr. Johnson is living proof that having HIV is not an automatic death sentence. When Mr. Johnson made his announcement, he gave the taboo topic of HIV/AIDS a very real and prominent public image. With his acknowledgement of being HIV positive spoken aloud, no longer could people put this disease into categories. Indeed, a rich heterosexual male not living in a third world country could contract HIV. HIV/AIDS is not only relegated to homosexuals or poor people.

However, with this façade of the disease being uncovered another emerged with each year that Mr. Johnson is living and is healthy. Since the public cannot see the outward appearance of the disease a couple of myths have appeared. One, “Magic” never had HIV it was just a way to bring the disease out into the public to be discusses more openly for awareness. Two, “Magic” has magic he has been cured. This just shows that when one door closes another one opens. Information on HIV/AIDS clearly needs to be emphasized because ignorance is still very prevalent with the...

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...AIDS. Mayo clinic. DS00005.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), October 20, 2011. 1998. April 11, 2012. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hiv-aids./DS00005.

5) NIAID. HIV Basics. AIDS Education Global Information System. Roxanne Laboratories.

2012. 1980. April 11, 2012. http://www.aegis.org/Basics/Structure%20of%20HIV.aspx

6) NIAID, NIH. HIV/AIDS. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. April 03, 2012. February 2, 2005.

April 11, 2012. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/HIVAIDS/Understanding/Pages/whatAreHIVAIDS.aspx

7) Vaughan PhD., Cheryl D. “Abracadabra: Magic Johnson and Anti-HIV treatments”.

Harvard University, Cambridge. 11 April 2012. Reading.

8) Vaughan PhD., Cheryl D. “Debunking Biology Myths: What is AIDS?”

Harvard University, Cambridge. 25 April 2012. Lecture.

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