NBA icon Magic Johnson announced nearly 30 years ago he was HIV positive.
“The reason why I’m still living is because (of) early detection. I had a test, I had a physical. It came up that I had HIV and that saved my life,” the former Los Angeles Lakers player told CNN. “So people want to get tested. Until they get tested, people won’t be comfortable because that’s going to tell them whether they have this virus or not.”
The NBA legend is hopeful health experts will develop an effective COVID-19 treatment that will be accessible to African-American communities who have been hit the hardest by the virus.
“We’ve got to make sure, first … every American can get a test,” Johnson said, the Detroit Free Press reports.
“The problem is people want us to drive to suburban America to get that test,” he added. “Why can’t you have that testing done right in urban America, right in the inner cities?” But testing won’t be enough.
“When you think about, first of all African Americans, we deal with a lot of health issues already. So we talk about HIV and AIDS, but obesity, when you think about diabetes, high blood pressure, so all these things we already deal with, then you add coronavirus on top of that, that’s a tough situation,” Johnson said. “And then the lack of access to health care, that’s just an unbeatable situation.”
Health officials claim a staggering number of Black Americans have been killed by coronavirus.
Officials in Chicago, Detroit and Louisiana have reported that a disproportionate number of coronavirus related deaths are Blacks.
“There’s been inequalities and injustice going on for a long time especially when you think about minorities. Until those things change, we’re still going to have a lack of health care. We’re still going to be behind the 8 ball when you think about African Americans,” said Johnson.
“African Americans are leading in terms of dying from the coronavirus and most of them in the hospital are African American,” he added. “We have to do a better job as African Americans to follow social distancing, stay at home and make sure we educate our loved ones and our family members and do what we’re supposed to do to keep safe and healthy. Then when you add that up, we don’t have access to health care, quality health care. So many of us are uninsured. That also creates a problem, too. Just like it did with HIV and AIDS.”
Hear more from Magic Johnson on the issue via the clip above.