* Epic Victory: Magic Johnson is rising above his challenges to make a difference in the world.
Here is the story:
Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. thanks his support system for keeping him strong all these years. After announcing his battle with HIV in 1991, Johnson became an advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and safe sex. Johnson created the Magic Johnson Foundation to help combat HIV. After 21 years, the foundation has helped over 245,000 disadvantaged youth, has awarded millions of dollars in grants and has now grown to support academic performance to youth across America.
Johnson announced his enforcement of the first FDA-approved home HIV test called OraQuick. Johnson said that AIDS activist Elizabeth Glaser had told her on her dying bed that, “I had to be the face for the disease.” Glaser contracted the disease in 1981 after receiving a blood transfusion while giving birth in 1981. He has made a commitment to the promise he gave to Glaser before her death. Johnson believes keeping awareness high is the key to reducing the numbers.
OraQuick HIV testing kit received approval by the Food and Drug Administration earlier this year and produces results in 20 minutes. The test has been used by health care providers for nearly a decade and uses a mouth swab to detect HIV-1 and HIV-2 in oral fluid. The FDA cautions that the test is only 92 percent accurate, but was 99.9 percent accurate in ruling out HIV in patients who are not carriers of the disease. The testing kit is available at pharmacies for around $40.
Johnson believes that the over-the-counter test will help in curbing the HIV and AIDS numbers and get the awareness out. According to Phil Wilson, president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, African American’s account for nearly half of the estimated 1.2 million people living with the AIDS disease, nearly half of the new HIV cases, and half of the annual AIDS-related deaths.
Johnson credits his strong support system of family and friends, his regular workouts, positive attitude and medication for helping to keep him healthy and strong. Johnson has shown that despite his challenges, he can rise above to make a difference in the world. Johnson continues to make career achievements; though no longer shooting basketballs and winning MVP Awards. His achievements are in awareness campaigns to publicize the fight against HIV/AIDS, public speaking engagements at world conferences and helping communities to increase academic and creative achievement. Johnson has been featured in books on HIV/AIDS, sports and life topics.
Novelist Phyllis Bottome (1884-1963) said it best, “There are two ways of meeting difficulties. You alter the difficulties or you alter yourself to meet them.” We must meet the challenges that are before us, not give up and persevere through them; for great minds rise above them!
Magic Johnson would understand this analogy the best: Life is like a basketball game; strange things are thrown at you, if you miss it the first time you learn from it, you give it all you got and no matter how hard it is, if you never give up, you will eventually get the basketball in the hoop.
Magic Johnson’s Vision of AIDS Testing Becomes Reality
On November 20, 2012 the Associated Press released information that a new push for AIDS testing is underway. This makes for Magic Johnson’s vision a reality. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has released it’s latest draft guideline recommendations for American’s ages 15 to 64. The task force is aiming at making HIV screening a routine part of a check-up. An independent panel that sets screening guidelines proposed Monday that everyone ages 15 to 64 must be tested at lease once for the AIDS virus. According to the Associated Press, “Of the more than 1.1 million American’s living with HIV, nearly 1 in 5 — almost 240,000 people — don’t know it.” This is a huge risk for spreading the virus to others.
The updated guidelines will bring this issue before doctors and patients. The guidelines will allow doctors to administer the test freely. If this is approved, the task force guidelines will make HIV screening a part of free preventive care, without a co pay, under the Obama administration’s health care law.
Monday’s proposal will also recommend testing others younger than 15 and older than 64 if they are at increased risk and making testing available annually, or every three to five years, for those who are increased risk. The proposal will also recommend testing women during each pregnancy, something that has been long encouraged by the task force.
Old guidelines stated that only people at increased risk for HIV, including gay and bisexual men and injecting drug users, were eligible for no-copay screening. Various testing is available at many community programs around the country.
December 17th will be the last day of public comment for the draft guidelines.
Emergency rooms are considered the best spots now to catch the undiagnosed, well after their illnesses and injuries have been treated, but according to Dr. Jonathan Mermin, CDC’s HIV prevention chief, “only 2 percent of ER patients known to be at increased risk were tested while there.” This is “a tragedy. It’s a missed opportunity,” said Mermin.
This new set of guidelines is proof that you can get the ball in the hoop. It takes someone to speak up and be heard. It will be exciting to see if the new guidelines are approved on December 17th.
Notes & References