Former NBA player Magic Johnson opened up about his HIV diagnosis and how the illness and the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting black communities in America the most. During his interview with CNN, Johnson stated that the reason why he is still living is because of early HIV detection. He had a test and a physical, and it came up that he had HIV and it saved his life.
On November 7, 1991, Johnson announced his retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers after he learned that he contracted the HIV that causes AIDS. But Johnson did not only talk about his diagnosis, he also talked to CNN about the coronavirus pandemic.
Black Americans are experiencing double pandemic
Johnson stated that when he think about the virus, it is different. He drew parallels between HIV and COVID-19 because of the similarities regarding the misconceptions about the viruses, the inadequate testing, the lack of available treatment and drugs and how the pandemic has hurt the black community.
According to Johnson, African Americans are leading in terms of dying from the coronavirus. He called for African Americans to do a better job by following the mandated guidelines by WHO such as social distancing, staying at home and by making sure that people educate their loved ones and family members and do what the public is supposed to do to keep safe and healthy.
The former basketball player also pointed out that African Americans do not have access to quality health care and so many people in the black communities are not insured. The lack of insurance and health care creates a problem, both with HIV and COVID-19.
HIV and COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC estimated that in 2018, around 42% of black people were diagnosed with HIV. USA TODAY reported that black people are dying of coronavirus at much higher rates compared to other Americans in major cities. Johnson pointed out the reasons behind the trend.
The first thing that he pointed out is the lack of testing supplies and the varying logistical and financial hurdles it takes to receive one. The is a shortage of tests in America, and even if people want to get tested they can't find a test kit. Testing cites are located in suburban America which requires hours of driving from people who live in the city, just so they can get tested.
Johnson also expressed his disappointment in the health care system of America. He observed that black people are susceptible to more underlying health conditions, including diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Those conditions can make people more vulnerable to coronavirus.
Lastly, Johnson pointed out that black people are more likely to be working in jobs that are considered as essential services, thus not allowing them to work from home.
Due to these disadvantages in the black community, Johnson has made several investment projects that focuses on rebuilding inner cities and he has raised funds to award college scholarships.
Johnson also said that the government must understand that the hospitality sector and restaurant sector are driven by a lot of minorities. He called for African Americans to do a better job and to make sure that children can educate themselves so that they can have jobs in other sectors. Johnson is hoping that the black community won't have to talk about their disadvantage in the next five years and that they will be in the same playing field as the rest of the Americans.
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