Eleven Years After Magic Johnson Revealed His HIV Diagnosis, Professional Athletes Remain ‘Promiscuous,’ Practice Unsafe Sex
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram yesterday examined how Magic Johnson's announcement in 1991 that he was HIV-positive both has and has not changed the sexual conduct of professional athletes. Johnson, who revealed that he was HIV-positive on Nov. 7, 1991, is currently taking antiretroviral drugs to fight his infection. In response to Johnson's announcement, the National Basketball Association each year presents a sexual health education program to rookie athletes. Rookie and veteran basketball players are required to attend, and the class includes information about sexually transmitted diseases and relationship issues. The National Football League runs a similar program, but Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League do not have similar annual seminars. While Johnson's announcement changed attitudes regarding HIV and people infected with the virus, sports officials and players say that there are still many "sexually promiscuous" professional athletes who continue to practice unsafe sex. "They still feel macho, like it can't happen to them, much like I was feeling it couldn't happen to me," Johnson said, adding, "I think that the athletes and the women have to change their attitudes, because one can't change and the other not" (Williams, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 11/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.