Magic Johnson Calls for More HIV Testing Among Blacks in D.C.
As part of his "I Stand With Magic" campaign, former National Basketball Association player Earvin "Magic" Johnson on Wednesday during a roundtable discussion at Howard University encouraged blacks residing in Washington, D.C., to be tested for HIV, WTOPnews.com 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 minority communities by increasing awareness and knowledge about the disease. In 2006, the district had the highest rate of new AIDS cases among blacks in the country, WTOPnews.com reports.
Johnson said it is a challenge within the black community for people to get tested for HIV. He added, "We finally get over the fear of getting tested, and then we finally go get tested, and then people say, 'Uh-oh, I don't want to know the results.'" Johnson noted that if the black community "did know, in terms of educating ourselves about HIV, then we would know we can still high-five [an HIV-positive] person, we can still play basketball against them."
According to WTOPnews.com, no-cost, rapid HIV tests were provided at the Howard forum. Shannon Hader, head of the city's HIV/AIDS Administration, said there are a lot of HIV/AIDS services available for people in the district, adding, "But that doesn't mean people know about them or believe in them" (Basch, WTOPnews.com, 5/1).
Essence Profiles Health Workers' Efforts To Fight HIV/AIDS in the District
In related news, Essence magazine on Thursday examined the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the district and the efforts by some community health workers to reduce the spread of the disease. According to Essence, community health workers from the Family and Medical Counseling Service and other groups have set up mobile HIV testing centers and travel throughout the city providing information on the epidemic (Owens, Essence, 5/1).