NBA Stars Yao Ming, Magic Johnson Appear in Chinese Television PSAs Promoting HIV/AIDS Awareness
Television stations in China on Thursday began airing a series of public service announcements featuring NBA star Yao Ming and former NBA star Magic Johnson aimed at promoting HIV/AIDS awareness in China, the South China Morning Post reports. The four PSAs show Yao and Johnson, who tested HIV-positive in 1991, playing basketball together, embracing and sharing a meal to show that HIV cannot be spread by casual contact. The PSAs were aired for the first time on Thursday to coincide with the NBA's first-ever game in China, in which Yao's team, the Houston Rockets, played the Sacramento Kings. Kathy Behrens, NBA's senior vice president of community relations, said, "Yao Ming and Magic Johnson are internationally admired," adding, "Both men generously agreed to join us in this effort to utilize the popularity of NBA basketball in China and deliver a lifesaving message: that HIV can be stopped if everyone learns the facts about preventing the disease and that people with HIV deserve support, compassion and care." Dr. David Ho, an HIV/AIDS researcher with the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, which is a sponsor of the PSAs, said, "China is taking action to address HIV/AIDS, but the epidemic there is still growing rapidly," adding, "Education is key to slowing this epidemic in China." Ho estimates that more than 200 million Chinese people between ages 15 and 24 do not know how to prevent HIV infection (Woo, South China Morning Post, 10/15). The Chinese government estimates that 840,000 HIV-positive live people in the country and that 80,000 people have AIDS. The United Nations estimates that there are about one million HIV-positive people living in China (Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, 10/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.