Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr., 58, played for the NBA team Los Angeles Lakers from 1979 to 1991. It was in 1991 when he retired after announcing that he had contracted human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). But in 1992, he returned to play in the All-Star Game and even won the All-Star MVP Award.
Johnson faced protests from his fellow NBA players. He did not play in 1993 but served as a coach for the Lakers in 1994. He went on hiatus in 1995 but played 32 games for the team in 1996 before retiring for good.
To maintain his health, Johnson takes a combination of GlaxoSmithKline and non-GlaxoSmithKline drugs, which he advertised in 2003. In partnership with Abbott Laboratories, the retired NBA star publicized the fight against AIDS in African American communities in 2006.
In 2015, Carlos Irwin Estevez, 52, who is professionally known as Charlie Sheen, announced that he is HIV positive and was diagnosed in 2011. Since the announcement, the actor has yet to star in a TV series.
On the big screen, Sheen went on hiatus from 2014 to 2016. In 2017, he made a comeback and starred in the comedy film “Mad Families” with Leah Rimini and Charlotte McKinney and in the drama film “9/11” with Whoopi Goldberg, Gina Gershon, Jacqueline Bisset and Luis Guzman.
When Sheen revealed his HIV status, Johnson was quick to express his support. The retired professional basketball player said he wanted the actor to have a long life.
“He must get a good doctor (and) get on the meds because when I announced (that I was HIV positive) almost 24 years ago, there was only one drug,” Johnson told Entertainment Tonight referring to Sheen. “Now there’s over 30, so I think he has a really good chance of living a long, productive life.”
Recently, a novel creation of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital showed the potential to transform HIV therapy. The team has developed an ingestible capsule that can slowly release one week’s worth of antiretroviral drugs.
The researchers’ creation, referred to as pillbox in a capsule, could solve the current problem of adherence to antiretroviral therapy, as explained by Robert Langer, co-lead author of the research that was published in the journal Nature Communications. According to their research, 30 percent of HIV-positive people fail to adhere to their treatment regimen.
Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT. His fellow authors of the research are Ameya R. Kirtane, Omar Abouzid, Daniel Minahan, Taylor Bensel, Alison L. Hill, Christian Selinger, Anna Bershteyn, Morgan Craig, Shirley S. Mo, Hormoz Mazdiyasni, Cody Cleveland, Jaimie Rogner, Young-Ah Lucy Lee, Lucas Booth, Farhad Javid, Sarah J. Wu, Tyler Grant, Andrew M. Bellinger, Boris Nikolic, Alison Hayward, Lowell Wood, Philip A. Eckhoff, Martin A. Nowak, Robert Langer and Giovanni Traverso.
Among the leading HIV/AIDS awareness advocates of today is Filipino beauty queen Pia Wurtzbach, 28. Before winning the Miss Universe 2015 crown, she said she would use her voice to influence the youth and raise awareness to certain causes like HIV awareness in the final question and answer portion of the top global beauty pageant.
In 2017, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) appointed Wurtzbach as a Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific in 2017. Here is a message from her in 2016: