"Ladies, are you talking to your partners about HIV?" asks Magic and Cookie Johnson in one of two public service announcements they shot with director Spike Lee in Los Angeles this week for the "I Stand With Magic" campaign.
The Magic Johnson Foundation and Abbott, a leader in HIV/AIDS research and therapies, partnered in 2006. With "I Stand With Magic," they are making the rounds to promote awareness and the benefits of early detection. Most important, however, is their mission to end Black HIV/AIDS. And theyíre right on time. In the 17 years since the former NBA great joined the fight against the disease, the numbers of new cases in the African-American community, particularly among women, have continued to climb.
"When people hear our voices, we want them to hear our message about getting tested," notes Johnson, who's led the effort to test 30,000 people. "We have to continue reinforcing the message, especially with our young people." His wife agrees. "Getting tested should be part of your annual physical, especially if you're sexually-active," she says. "It should be thought about as part of normal life, not as a taboo."
"Magic and Cookie are able to speak directly to the audience," notes director Lee, "And I applaud them for working to combat the complacency in our community. HIV/AIDS is not something of the past, it's a life-or-death issue."
The PSAs are scheduled to air by summer. For more information, visit IStandWithMagic.com.
Credit: Johnny Nunez