Magic Johnson Reveals How HIV Brought His Family Closer

The former basketball star has been living with HIV for 21 years -- and his family's support has helped him get by

While HIV is no longer an automatic death sentence for its carriers, it’s still a chronic and serious health concern for most. However, for Magic Johnson, who announced his HIV-positive status in 1991, the disease had one positive side effect. 

"I think it's brought my whole family closer together," he says.

Speaking to People on Wednesday at a press event for OraQuick, the first at-home HIV test kit, Johnson said he draws strength from his wife Earlitha "Cookie" Kelly and his three children, Andre, Earvin and Elisa.

"They get on me making sure I'm doing everything the right way," said the former L.A. Lakers star. "'Are you taking your meds, are you working out, are you eating healthy?'"

"Nobody can beat this disease by himself," Johnson, 53, added.

After announcing his diagnosis in November 1991, Johnson created the Magic Johnson Foundation to help combat HIV. Today, in addition to his duties as a sports commentator, Johnson is also an HIV prevention and awareness activist.

Johnson said that besides his family support system, regular workouts, a positive attitude and his trio of drugs have kept him healthy.

"Many people are surprised to find that for 21 years the cocktail I've been taking [is] the same three drugs, once a day," he says. "The thing that's made Magic magical is that I've taken my meds!"

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