Magic Johnson & HIV: What Is He Planning Next?

Magic Johnson talking about the in-home HIV testAbout 250,000 people in the US have HIV and don’t know it.  These people are unknowingly responsible for up to 75% of new infections. Almost half of new infections are among African Americans.

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For more than 20 years, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Chairman and Founder of the Magic Johnson Foundation, has been committed to transforming Urban America through HIV/AIDS Awareness & Prevention Programs, Community Empowerment Centers, and the Taylor Michaels Scholarship Program. Today, he has also teamed with OraQuick to encourage others to get tested for HIV.

The awareness campaign, “Make Knowing Your Thing Today”, kicks off today and asks people across the country to share their story about their decision to test for HIV. Magic has shared his story, which can be viewed here.

The goal of the campaign is to encourage people to take the important step towards learning their HIV status. The contest, which runs through July 2013, asks participants to submit a short video or photo with caption at www.OraQuick.com/knowing, to share their story about why they decided to get tested for HIV.

A winning entry will be selected based on viewer voting and input from a panel of judges. The winner will be a part of a future OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test promotion.

OraSure Technologies, Inc.,  the maker of the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test, announced today the launch of a nationwide awareness campaign to encourage everyone to learn their HIV status. The campaign, “Make Knowing Your Thing Today” asks people across the country to share their story about their decision to test for HIV. The awareness campaign is part of an integrated national marketing program that includes events, as well as national and local radio, outdoor advertising, television, print and digital advertising.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson has teamed with OraSure to kick off this campaign today, sharing his story of knowing, and encouraging others to do the same.

“Knowing your HIV status is important, but that doesn’t mean that the decision to get tested is easy. Everyone follows a different path to testing and everyone has different reasons for doing it,” said Earvin “Magic” Johnson, CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises. “We need to have an open and honest dialogue about HIV/AIDS to help remove the stigma around testing, so more people get tested. The more people we get to join the conversation, the more powerful the message will be: Testing for HIV/AIDS can save lives. It’s everyone’s thing.”

The OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test is the first ever in-home rapid infectious disease test made available directly to consumers. Launched in October 2012, the test detects antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2 with an oral swab, providing a confidential in-home testing option with results in as little as 20 minutes. It is available in most national drugstore and mass merchandiser retail outlets nationwide and online at OraQuick.com.

OraQuick® has launched the “Make Knowing Your Thing Today” campaign to encourage people to take the important step towards learning their HIV status. The campaign features a contest, which asks participants to submit a short video or photo with caption at www.OraQuick.com/knowing, to share their story about why they decided to get tested for HIV. A winning entry will be selected based on viewer voting and input from a panel of judges. The winner will be a part of a future OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test promotion. The contest runs through July 2013.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. that have HIV and approximately 240,000 of them are unaware of their status. Those who do not know they are HIV positive are disproportionately responsible for the 50,000 new HIV infections that occur each year.

15 Shocking Symptoms Of HIV

doctor holding hiv test tubeWithin a month or two of HIV entering the body, 40% to 90% of people experience flulike symptoms known as acute retroviral syndrome (ARS).

But sometimes HIV symptoms don’t appear for years, sometimes even a decade, after infection.

“In the early stages of HIV infection, the most common symptoms are none,” says Michael Horberg, MD, director of HIV/AIDS for Kaiser Permanente, in Oakland, Calif. One in five people in the United States with HIV doesn’t know they have it, which is why it’s so important to get tested, especially if you have unprotected sex with more than one partner or use intravenous drugs.

Here are some signs that you may be HIV-positive:

1. Fever

One of the first signs of ARS can be a mild fever, up to about 102 degrees F. The fever, if it occurs at all, is often accompanied by other usually mild symptoms, such as fatigue, swollen lymph glands, and a sore throat.

**IMPORTANT**: A Special Message To Those Who Are HIV Positive

“At this point the virus is moving into the blood stream and starting to replicate in large numbers,” says Carlos Malvestutto, MD, instructor of infectious diseases and immunology in the department of medicine at NYU School of Medicine in New York City. “As that happens, there is an inflammatory reaction by the immune system.”

2. Fatigue

The inflammatory response generated by your besieged immune system also can cause you to feel tired and lethargic. Fatigue can be both an early and later sign of HIV.

Ron, 54, a public relations executive in the Midwest, started to worry about his health when he suddenly got winded just walking. “Everything I did, I got out of breath,” he says. “Before that I had been walking three miles a day.”

Ron had tested HIV positive 25 years before feeling so tired; fatigue during acute, or newly contracted, HIV might not be so obvious.

3. Achy Muscles & Joint Pain

ARS is often mistaken for the flu, mononucleosis, or another viral infection, even syphilis or hepatitis.

That’s not surprising: Many of the symptoms are the same, including pain in the joints and muscles and swollen lymph glands.

Lymph nodes are part of your body’s immune system and tend to get inflamed when there’s an infection. Many of them are located in your armpit, groin, and neck.

4. Sore Throat & Headache

As with other symptoms, sore throat and headache can often be recognized as ARS only in context, Dr. Horberg says.

If you’ve engaged recently in high-risk behavior, an HIV test is a good idea. Get tested for your own sake and for others: HIV is most infectious in the earliest stage.

Keep in mind that the body hasn’t produced antibodies to HIV yet so an antibody test may not pick it up. (It can take a few weeks to a few monthsfor HIV antibodies to show in a blood test). Investigate other test options such as one that detects viral RNA, typically within nine days of infection.

5. Skin Rashes

Skin rashes can occur early or late in the course of HIV/AIDS.

For Ron, this was another sign that he might not have run-of-the-mill allergies or a cold.

”They were like boils, with some itchy pink areas on my arms,” Ron says. The rashes can also appear on the trunk of the body. “If [the rashes] aren’t easily explained or easily treated, you should think about having an HIV test,” Dr. Horberg says.

6. Nausea, Vomiting & Diarrhea

Anywhere from 30% to 60% of people have short-term nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in the early stages of HIV, Dr. Malvestutto says.

These symptoms can also appear as a result of antiretroviral therapy and later in the infection, usually as the result of an opportunistic infection.

”Diarrhea that is unremitting and not responding at all to usual therapy might be an indication,” Dr. Horberg says. Or symptoms may be caused by an organism not usually seen in people with healthy immune systems, he adds.