HIV/AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease which there is still no cure for. It affects the immune system and stops its normal functioning. Thousands of people all over the world suffer from this virus. There are many celebrities with AIDS. Although the disease is a serious threat and brings changes in all aspects of life, there is one positive thing about being a celebrity with HIV/AIDS. Famous people can use their popularity in order to emphasize the serious consequences the virus leads to. Here is a list of HIV-positive celebrities.
The legendary lead vocalist of the rock band Queen died at the age of 45. He was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987. He kept his health condition private until the day before his death. Freddie Mercury made a great contribution to the development of rock music. He became the first rock star of such a high rank. Freddie was homosexual which was counted as another confirmation that AIDS was a gay disease.
Mercury’s death is a key moment in the history of AIDS because of his world fame. In 1992 the other members of Queen established The Mercury Phoenix Trust and organized The Freddie Mercury Tribute for AIDS Awareness. They raised money to support AIDS research and other AIDS charities. Both the foundation and the concert gained millions of pounds.
He is an American retired professional basketball player. The best time of his career was during the ’80s80’s. In 1991 he publicly announced that he was infected with HIV. That statement broke the stereotype that HIV was a gay disease. It showed to heterosexual people that they were also at risk of being infected. Although Magic Johnson claimed that he had not had sex with men, many people did not believe him. They were still convinced the virus was spread only amongst the gay community.
Magic Johnson founded Magic Johnson Foundation so he can actively take part in the fight against the virus. His aim was to educate people about HIV and to make them understand that it is not a disease concerning only the drug addicts and gays.
Charlie Sheen is probably the most recent name amongst global celebrities with AIDS. The famous American actor is known as “Uncle Charlie” from the comedy series “Two and a Half Men”. This role brought him several Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations.
In the late 90’s he suffered a stroke because of overdosing with cocaine. A couple of times after this happened he has been arrested for aggressive behavior. In 2015 he announced publicly that he was HIV-positive.
The Charlie Sheen effect
This phenomenon occurred after Charlie Sheen admitted that he was infected with HIV. His confession led to record numbers of HIV-related Google searches. It also raised drastically the purchases of HIV testing kits.
Charlie Sheen became one of the major donors of Aid For AIDS, this is why he received the “AFA Angel Award” in 2009. His activism in supporting HIV charities began long before he was even diagnosed with it. In 1987 he showed support of Ryan White – an Indiana teenager who was infected with HIV by mistake during a medical intervention.
Celebrities with AIDS are the engine of the struggle. One they this plague will be defeated and they will be amongst the heroes of this victory. But until then they must help with raising awareness and funds.