‘Magic’ Johnson Calls for More HIV Testing Among Blacks, End to Stigma
As part of his "I Stand With Magic" campaign, former National Basketball Association player Earvin "Magic" Johnson on Tuesday encouraged a crowd of about 300 at the Miami-based Greater Bethel AME Church to be tested for HIV, the Miami Herald reports.
The "I Stand With Magic" campaign, a partnership between the Magic Johnson Foundation and Abbott Laboratories, aims to reduce the number of new HIV cases among blacks by half. Johnson also visited Miami Jackson High School.
Two mobile HIV testing centers were set up outside the church event.
Johnson called on attendees to help eliminate HIV stigma, saying, "We need to urge people to get tested." He added, "We have a major problem, a crisis in our community and only we can take care of it. Blacks and browns, we need to come together."
Florence Greer, a minority AIDS coordinator with the Florida Department of Health, said, "Particularly in the African-American community, we're stressing testing. If you look at four people who are HIV positive, only three people know."
Blacks represent about 20% of the Miami-Dade County population, but 58% of AIDS cases and 46% of HIV cases reported in 2007, according to data from the county Health Department (Lebovich, Miami Herald, 2/27).