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5 celebs with HIV who are raising awareness

Posted at 5:16 AM, Nov 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-18 07:16:08-05

When Magic Johnson announced he was HIV-positive, he stunned the world. Back then, 1991, the diagnosis was more or less a death sentence. In 2015, Johnson is very much alive--as are several other celebrities who are using their fame to remind us that HIV/AIDS should still be taken very seriously.

Magic Johnson

After the NBA star announced he was HIV-positive in 1991, he founded the Magic Johnson Foundation. The non-profit focuses on developing and funding "programs addressing HIV/AIDS prevention, HIV testing, and effective treatment for persons living with HIV/AIDS." MORE

Today, Magic is a vigorous 56-year-old. He is not cured of HIV, as he has explained in a number of interviews. He told Renada Romain of Hip-Hop Nation on SiriusXM Radio that HIV is "just laying asleep in my body. The drugs have done their part and I've done my part by exercising and having a positive attitude about having HIV."

Greg Louganis

The American Olympic diver, LGBT activist and author won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games on both the springboard and platform. 

Louganis, 55, tested positive for the virus in 1988. In a new documentary about his life, he says, "I was thinking I was not going to see 30." He remains active in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Chuck Panozzo

By his own account, the bass player for the rock band Styx was "one of those closeted, clandestine type of guys." He learned he had HIV in 1991, and felt at a complete loss.

In a 2002 "Advocate" magazine article, he's quoted:

"I asked my doctor, 'What can I do? How long will I live?' She said, 'I don’t know.' Everything was 'I don’t know....' I left the doctor’s office thinking, I’m just going to continue on until I get sick."

Today, at age 67, Panozzo works to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Danny Pintauro

Remember that kid from the TV show "Who's the Boss?" In September, he told Oprah Winfrey that he had been living with HIV for more than a decade.

"I wanted to tell you this a long time ago, but I wasn't ready. I'm ready now," he said. "I'm HIV-positive, and I have been for 12 years."

Shortly after the Oprah interview, Pintauro told "People" magazine: "If you're paying any bit of attention, you realize that HIV isn't a death sentence anymore."

In the article, Pintauro says he was not ready to be an LGBT role model when he came out of the closet in 1997, but now he embraces the chance to show others what is possible.

Charlie Sheen

In a Nov. 17 interview on NBC's "Today," the 50-year-old actor said he tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS.

He said he was diagnosed about four years ago. He said one reason for going public with his condition was to put a stop to shakedowns from prostitutes and others who threatened to out him. 

With his public pronouncement he said he hoped to reduce the stigma still felt by some diagnosed with HIV.

"I have a responsibility now to better myself and to help a lot of other people," he said. "And hopefully with what we're doing today, others may come forward and say, 'Thanks, Charlie, for kicking the door open.'"

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