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Public Figures and HIV/AIDS

  • Earvin "Magic" Johnson was one of the first public figures to announce his HIV-positive status in the USA. One of the NBA's greatest basketball players, Johnson stunned the world in 1991 when he announced he was HIV-positive and retired from professional sport.
  • Lead singer for Queen, Freddie Mercury, died of an AIDS-related illness on November 24, 1991. Despite intense press speculation, he kept his condition a secret until the day before he died (source).

  • South African Yfm DJ Fana "Khabzela" Khaba died on January 14, 2004, of AIDS-related illnesses. In 2003, he publicly announced he was HIV positive in a pre-recorded message that aired on Yfm's breakfast show. He encouraged listeners to speak openly about their HIV status. However, despite his relative wealth, Khabzela did not consistently take antiretroviral drugs, engaged innutrition-based treatment and died at age 36 (source).

  • Makgatho Mandela, the last surviving son of former President Nelson Mandela, died of an AIDS-related illness on January 6, 2005 (source).

  • Prince Benedict Nelisuzulu Buthelezi, son of politician Mangosuthu Buthelezi, died on April 29, 2004, from AIDS-related illnesses.

  • American actor Rock Hudson was the first major American celebrity to die of AIDS, on October 2, 1985.

  • American author, Isaac Asiminov, contracted HIV/AIDS through a blood transfusion during heart surgery in 1983 (source). He died of heart and renal failure stemming from AIDS on April 6, 1992.

  • South Africanjournalist, Lucky Mazibuko, was the first self-declared HIV-positive journalist in South Africa (source).

  • Other notable HIV-positive people include:
Also see Wikipedia's List of HIV-positive people including film stars, athletes, writers and artists, etc.
Wits Journalism Anova Health

The project is jointly managed by the Anova Health Institute and the Journalism and Media Studies Programme at the University of the Witwatersrand, and supported by the Health Communication Partnership based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Centre for Communication Programmes and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief through the United States Agency for International Development under terms of Award No. JH/HESA-02-05.