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IT'S SAFE TO SAY that millions more Americans know the name "Magic" Johnson than have ever heard of Hiroshi Nakajima, MD. As director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, Nakajima has designated this Sunday World AIDS Day. The intent is to stimulate action on a global scale against the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
But it was the stunning disclosure 2 weeks ago by Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson of the positive results of his test for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that is expected to galvanize the campaign against AIDS in the United States. Among young people, and particularly among hard-to-reach adolescents in minority groups, seeing that the disease can strike even an athletic hero is likely to do much more to advance the cause of AIDS prevention than years of governmental proclamations and official adjuration.
Indeed, after Johnson shared with the country the startling
Goldsmith MF. Global Full-Court Press Against HIV, AIDS Spurred by Player's Infection. JAMA. 1991;266(20):2801-2802. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470200011002