Monday, November 7, 2011

This Magic Moment

Perhaps you heard him on some sports radio talk shows today commemorating the 20th anniversary of the day he, Magic Johnson, one of the premier basketball players of his and all-time, stunned the world by announcing he was HIV+. Unlike other HIV+ celebrities, such as Rock Hudson, Johnson was at the peak of his career, leading a vibrant life. He was still an active member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Magic’s admission helped transform the public perception of HIV patients. Johnson became the face of HIV and its successful treatment.

Twenty years ago Gilda was the research coordinator of the Division of Infectious Disease at NY Medical College/Westchester County Medical Center. She studied Hepatitis, Lyme Disease, and HIV, contributing to numerous research papers.

Among the first studies she worked on was one that directly affected Magic Johnson and all other athletes. The study explored whether the HIV virus could be transmitted through sweat. To gather the sweat, HIV patients were placed in steam rooms. Their sweat dripped into plastic gloves to be tested.

The bottom line: HIV was not passed on by sweat. It was safe for Johnson and other athletes to continue playing together without fear of contracting HIV from the sweat of an infected player.