cinema_babe: (Question)
[personal profile] cinema_babe
I'm watching a documentary about Magic Johnson's annoncement that he was HIV postitive.

It's an interesting piece that situates his vast importance in international pop culture at that time and the impact of his announcement.

It also reminds me of something someone told me a few years ago. A conspiracy theory that seems both very crazy and highly plausible.

I was working with a woman who was a PhD candidate in Public Health Administration. Her area of interest was how lower income, urban black communities deals with chronic illnesses like diabetes and HIV infection. Apparently among (at least) black social workers and others in the health policy field believe that Magic "took a bullet for the team". That he never had HIV, that he was approached by people who asked him to say he had HIV as a way of blasting through public attitudes.

They felt that by putting a wildly popular celebrity who was well loved and considered a role model in the role of someone who has been infected with the HIV virus, it would trigger dialogue among people who chose to believe it wasn't anything they had to think about. He was asked to play the role for blacks that Ryan White and the Ray Brothers did for the rest of America.

It seems like an incredible story but it's just incredible enough, and the rumor has been tenacious enough, that it just might be true.

The timeline between his infection and his wife's pregnancy is complicated. If he had been HIV+ for while, how did he not pass it to her. If he got it after she got pregnant, does that mean they stopped having sex immediately after conceiving. And yes, all of this is none of anyone's business but you see where I'm going here.

My big thing against conspiracies is that if more than 2 or 3 people know, it's going to come out. This has been proven again and again. However, I think this could have been put over with far fewer people than we might think. And just the fact that pockets of people in the healthcare community talk about a possible conspiracy says that maybe it has leaked out here and there.

Do I think we'll ever really know? Nope but it's an intriguing theory.

Date: 2013-06-04 01:26 am (UTC)
ext_432: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
HIV transmission is not 100% with sex. She could have just been phenomenally lucky.

But it's an interesting rumor. I had not heard it before.

Date: 2013-06-04 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It wouldn't have to have been that phenomenal. I'm not an expert, but from what I've read, the repetition of exposure is critical for the odds, not just because you have to get lucky more often but because the latter exposures are less well fought off. If they rarely had unprotected intercourse, her risk may not have been very high.

Date: 2013-06-04 02:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
While that's true, a newly married couple TTC a baby? Assuming they are having sex on a fairly regular basis? The incidental microtrauma to the vagina would make it highly unlikely that she would not have contracted it.

Assuming of course that she doesn't have some sort of genetic anomaly that would give her some sort of super resistance. Apparently was interesting enough for some people to think twice.

There are plausible explanations for everything that I tend to believe but it is an interesting theory.

Date: 2013-06-04 06:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It also may depend on where he was in his infection when they were having sex (I'm jumping in here not knowing the timeline) -- latent stage rates of transmission is pretty low, eg 1-2 new cases / 1000 x according to a paper I read on transmission in discordant couples in sub-Saharan Africa (numbers are harder to arrive at where complicated by condom use, which is a sad statement).

As an aside, it must be the case that infectivity is much higher at some points, and is known to be higher with co-occurring HSV-2, higher viral loads, etc. Otherwise HIV wouldn't be an epidemic at the level it is.

I'm not saying that one should feel secure that HIV transmission rates are low in latent stages of infection, just that depending on his infection it's very plausible that he could have had fairly regular sex with his new wife and she could have remained HIV negative.

Date: 2013-06-04 05:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I wonder to what extent his excellent and continued health has contributed to the theory? As he said on Conan the other night, his health care was the best, and there were *immense* strides in medication after he was infected.

If your conspiracy theory is true I have immense respect for him, though.

Date: 2013-06-04 06:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh yeah, I think his relative good health has been a contributing factor in keeping this going.

If it's true it was a huge sacrifice but not completely out of character. His career was near its end anyway and I think he always wanted to play after he made his announcement, I don't think he realized he was hastening the end of his career.

But he was always known for doing whatever he could to give back to the black communities that helped to make basketball players stars. HE was the guy who built modern mega-plex movie theaters in urban centers like LA and NYC because he saw that they didn't have those types of facilities.

Like I said, it seems too good to be true but it is (somewhat) plausible and if anyone would do something like this I would say that it would have been him. Also the people who I first heard this from aren't half baked thinkers. For them to find it credible raised the plausibility factor in my eyes as well.

Date: 2013-07-13 09:08 pm (UTC)
ashbet: (Lacrimosa 2)
From: [personal profile] ashbet
*nods* While I find the story as presented plausible (he and his wife got really lucky, he's had the benefit of amazing healthcare, etc.), I also think the theory is plausible -- because, yeah, he's altruistic enough that I can see him agreeing to it in an attempt to save lives.

-- A <3

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