How Did Magic Johnson Contract HIV?

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In a 2011 video interview with FRONTLINE, Magic Johnson stated he had contracted HIV from unprotected sex. Since he first announced his HIV-positive status to the media in 1991, Johnson and his wife Cookie have become vocal proponents of HIV/AIDS education, testing and tolerance, especially within minority communities.

Johnson’s public announcement and subsequent activism are credited with helping to change the public’s perception of AIDS, which at the time was regarded as an affliction of the gay and bisexual community. Johnson went on to face intense media speculation about his sexuality, but he has repeatedly stated that he became infected during unprotected sex with women and that everyone is at risk of contracting HIV.