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Magic Johnson and his revelation about HIV, 26 years later




LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15:  Magic Johnson attends a 2016 ceremony honoring Jackie Robinson at Dodger Stadium. Twenty five years ago, he announced to the world that he had contracted the HIV virus. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15: Magic Johnson attends a 2016 ceremony honoring Jackie Robinson at Dodger Stadium. Twenty five years ago, he announced to the world that he had contracted the HIV virus. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

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It happened 26 years ago ... Magic Johnson, one of the biggest superstars in sports and one of the greatest athletes of all time made a grave and startling announcement.

That he had contracted the HIV virus. 

It sent ripples all over the world, for a variety of reasons.  Johnson didn't fit into the idea of who contracted the disease, he wasn't gay or a drug user. But at the time, most everyone assumed that contracting the virus meant that eventually, you would die. 

But that's not what happened.  Robert Fullilove is a Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Columbia University Medical Center.  He's been involved with HIV/Aids research for more than thirty years, and when he heard the announcement - he knew something huge was about to happen. 

More than anything else, we've been sending this message for years that everyone is vulnerable to an infection of HIV, and that message was finally going to be heard ... probably for the first time. 

We spoke to him about the lasting effect of Johnson's announcement - and what still needs to be done in terms of fighting the disease. 

To hear the full segment, click the blue play button above.

An earlier version of this post stated that it has been 25 years since Magic Johnson announced he contracted HIV, it has in fact been 26 years. We regret the error.