HIV is a personal matter but these celebrities chose to use their fame to discuss their HIV status and to advocate for compassion and awareness around HIV, hoping to help others to do the same.
Charlie Sheen announced on Nov. 17, 2015, that he is HIV-positive. The actor revealed he was diagnosed about four years earlier. “It’s a hard three letters to absorb. It’s a turning point in one’s life,” Sheen said.
Former NBA Player Earvin “Magic” Johnson announced in 1991 that he was diagnosed with HIV. He created the Magic Johnson Foundation to help combat HIV and raise awareness about the virus. Johnson worked with the White House and the United Nations in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and continues to advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and safe sex.
Former footballer, Thabang Sefatsa made headlines when he confessed to being HIV positive, and he revealed the reason why more players don’t speak out.
Rapper Eazy-E of N.W.A died of AIDS-related complications in 1995. Eazy-E died only a month after learning he had AIDS; he and his wife Tomica Woods married just 12 days before his death. His son Lil Eazy-E is also a rapper and advocates for HIV awareness.
Actress Amanda Blake, seen here with “Gunsmoke” co-stars Dennis Weaver, James Arness and Milburn Stone, was 60 when she died died on Aug. 16, 1989. Although she had throat cancer at the time at her death, it is widely believed that she had contracted the HIV virus from her ex-husband and had died of AIDS related complications.
Musa ‘Queen’ Njoko
Gospel artist Musa ‘Queen’ Njoko publicly disclosed her HIV-positive status in 1995. She was 22 when she was diagnosed, at a time when treatment was not available in South Africa. She faced a lot of stigma and hostility but also found support.
Lesego Motsepe who for 10 years played Lettie Matabane in Isidingo, disclosed her status on World AIDS Day in 2011. She said “Our society had made this virus a monster and all it is, is a virus. I’m doing it for the voiceless people out there who just found out today, and know that I’ve got their back.” Sadly Motsepe stopped using life-saving ARVs in 2012. She died in 2014.
Radio DJ Criselda Kananda, was diagnosed HIV positive more than 13 years ago, when she was seven months pregnant. Today she is a mother of 3, motivational speaker, professional counsellor, former nurse, medical underwriter and serves on the board of the South African National AIDS Council.
In a 2011 interview with DRUM magazine, Bala spoke openly about living with HIV. He said he had received the diagnosis in 2010 and had made a commitment to help others in the same situation.
“I am HIV-positive, and as a celebrity and someone who is openly gay, it is important to come out. I want to use my bubbly personality to help those struggling to come to terms with their status and instil a sense of hope.”