Ten Celebrities That Have Had HIV & AIDS

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  • AIDS, which stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, is a disorder caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The disease is potentially life threatening and there is still no cure, but medications are now available that allow many patients to live well with HIV/AIDS for years or even decades. As the stories of these top sports figures and well-known members of the entertainment world and the scientific community make clear, you stand the best chance of a good outcome if your condition is diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

    1.) Freddie Mercury

    One of the greatest rock frontmen of all time, Queen’s Freddie Mercury was diagnosed with HIV in April of 1987 and kept it secret for over 4 years until November 23, 1991. He died a little over 24 hours after the announcement that he had contracted bronchial pneumonia as a result of AIDS.
  • 2.) Liberace The highest paid entertainer in the world from 1950 to 1970 was diagnosed with HIV in 1986 following his 21-day tour that grossed $2.5 million. He was hospitalized in January of 1987 with suspected anemia and died on February 4, 1987. Though he never officially gave a statement saying he was HIV positive, an autopsy following his death confirmed that he did have HIV.
  • 3.) Arthur Ashe The only African-American man to ever to a title at Wimbledon, tennis great Arthur Ashe was diagnosed with HIV in 1988. He had contracted the virus from a blood transfusion he received during his second heart transplant in 1983. Ashe died on February 6, 1993 from AIDS-related pneumonia.
  • 4.) Earvin “Magic” Johnson Arguably the greatest NBA player of all time, Magic Johnson found out he had AIDS after a physical before the 1991-1992 season. He quickly retired from the NBA but came back for the 1992 all star game and 32 games in the 1996 season for the Lakers before retiring for good. Johnson has continued to lead a relatively healthy life and has become an important figure in the drive to create AIDS awareness and encourage safe sex practices.
  • 5.) Greg Louganis An Olympic gold medalist in diving, Louganis found out he had AIDS in 1988 and made a public announcement in 1995 that caused most of his corporate sponsors to drop him immediately. Since his announcement he has continued to act in off-Broadway plays and tell his story through a Showtime movie called "Breaking the Surface." He has served as an outspoken HIV awareness advocate for many years and vows to continue to do so for as long as he can.
  • 6.) Howard Ashman A talented playwright, lyricist and director, Howard Ashman was diagnosed with AIDS sometime in the 80’s but kept his condition a secret for fear of losing his job. He died on March 14, 1991 from complications of HIV. He was posthumously awarded his second Oscar in 1992 for Best Original Song for “Beauty and the Beast.”
  • 7.) Esteban De Jesus A former lightweight boxing champion best known for his trilogy of fights with Roberto Duran, De Jesus was infected with HIV while he was in prison for the murder of a 17-year-old over a traffic dispute in Puerto Rico. After finding out that De Jesus had acquired HIV, Governor Rafael Hernandez Colon pardoned him and allowed him to go back home. On May 11, 1989, he died from AIDS-related complications. He was only 37 years old.
  • 8.) Rock Hudson A legendary American film and television actor, Rock Hudson was diagnosed with HIV on June 5, 1984. Hudson thought he might have contracted the virus from a blood transfusion that he received during a heart bypass procedure. He died on October 2, 1985 a month and a half before his 60th birthday. His death had an immediate positive impact on the visibility of AIDS and the funding of medical research to find a cure for the disease.
  • 9.) Isaac Asimov A famous biochemist and fiction writer, Isaac Asimov contracted HIV from a transfusion during heart surgery in 1983. His family decided to keep his illness secret for 10 years after his death on April 6, 1992 because of the backlash that had erupted when Arthur Ashe announced his HIV infection. Eventually however, his wife, Janet, and his daughter, Roby, felt that the HIV story should be made public.
  • Keith Haring A well known American artist, Haring was diagnosed with Aids in 1988. Quite a few people that were close to Haring died from AIDS including Tina Chow who was one of the first heterosexual women to become infected with the virus. On February 16, 1990 Haring died of AIDS-related complications when he was only 31 years old.