As part of his "I Stand With Magic" campaign, former National Basketball Association player Earvin "Magic" Johnson 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".
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation