Magic Johnson’s Wife Cookie Johnson Participates in ‘I Stand With Magic’ Campaign To Reduce HIV/AIDS Among Blacks
Former National Basketball Association player Earvin "Magic" Johnson's wife, Cookie Johnson, on Wednesday said she will take a leading role in Magic Johnson's five-year, $60 million "I Stand With Magic" campaign to fight HIV/AIDS among blacks, USA Today reports (Sternberg, USA Today, 11/29).
The campaign, launched by the Magic Johnson Foundation and the drug company Abbott, calls on the black community to increase HIV/AIDS awareness, be tested for HIV and practice safer sex. The campaign's goal is to reduce the number of new HIV cases in the black community by half in five years (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/2).
Magic Johnson, who has been HIV-positive for 16 years, as part of the campaign has traveled to 16 cities with large black populations to encourage people to be tested for HIV and learn about the disease. Cookie Johnson said she decided to participate in the campaign when she learned that HIV rates among black women are 20 times higher than among white women.
Cookie Johnson said that her "mission" will be to speak to more than 1,000 black women nationwide and "empower" them to get tested and encourage their partners to be tested. "If your partner does not want to get tested, you have to say no" to sex, she added. Cookie Johnson also said that her experience in being married to someone living with HIV will give her the opportunity to tell women that HIV-positive people can lead "normal" lives (USA Today, 11/29).
According to CDC estimates from 2005, blacks made up about 13% of the U.S. population but accounted for 49% of new AIDS diagnoses (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/9).