We loathe to give conspiracy theories any attention for fear of spreading misinformation, but we must set the facts straight once again about Magic Johnson and HIV: The iconic athlete did not contract HIV from a contaminated hepatitis B vaccine during a study trial conducted by Anthony Fauci, MD.
“I am certain that I was infected by having unprotected sex with a woman who has the virus,” Johnson wrote in a November 1991 article for Sports Illustrated that The Associated Press references in a recent article. “The problem is that I can’t pinpoint the time, the place or the woman,” he added. “It’s a matter of numbers. Before I was married, I truly lived the bachelor’s life. I’m no Wilt Chamberlain, but as I traveled around NBA cities, I was never at a loss for female companionship.”
To repeat the facts: Magic Johnson did not contract HIV from a contaminated hepatitis B vaccine. Misinformation about this is deliberately spread online by conspiracy theorists who deny the proven effectiveness of vaccines, specifically the shots that protect against COVID-19. Propagandists also aim to discredit the work of scientists such as Fauci, the recently retired head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases known as America’s doctor. Not only did he lead the country through the COVID-19 pandemic, relaying the latest scientific data and promoting vaccines, but he also guided national health and research efforts through the AIDS epidemic.
Basketball icon Johnson stunned the world on November 1, 1991, when he announced, at the height of his stardom, that he was retiring from the NBA because he was HIV positive.
In November 2021, Johnson marked the 30th anniversary of his public disclosure with press interviews and public statements, tweeting: “God has really blessed me! Today marks 30 years living with HIV so the message resonated with me in such a tremendous way. I thank the Lord for keeping me, giving me strength, and guiding me for 62 years but especially the last 30.”
Over the years, he has used his fame to advocate and educate about HIV issues, and when COVID first struck the nation in March 2020, Johnson publicly urged people to view the coronavirus as a real health threat.