Today is National Women and Girl HIV/Awarness Day, and Cookie Johnson is encouraing all women to know their status.
In an interview with ESSENCE.com, the NWGHAAD ambassador said she’s helping spread the awareness message about HIV/AIDS and the importance of getting tested through social media. “We’re trying to reach them where they live, which is basically through Twitter and Facebook. Everyone needs to talk about this,” she said.
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According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, women account for 24 percent of new HIV cases in America and the risk are greater for African-American women, with one in every 32 women diagnosed in their lifetime.
“Part of the problem is, when my husband made his announcement back in 1991, people were dying. It was a new disease. People weren’t familiar with it. People were dying at alarming rates. Now, with the medications they have, people are still getting the disease at high rates, but they’re not dying like they used to. I wonder if that’s why people aren’t afraid of it anymore,” she said. “I think we really need to bring attention to the fact that there are still huge numbers—especially women and girls—who are getting this disease.”
Johnson went on to say that her marriage to basketball legend Magic Johnson grew stronger after he announced he was HIV positive. “When you’re faced with a tragedy like that, you either do one of two things. You either band together and become a close-knit unit or you completely fall apart and go your separate ways,” she said. “It’s a lot to handle. We were married a month when it happened. It was very difficult. Everything was new. I found out I was pregnant that month. I wanted to do everything possible to keep it together and fight for it. My first instinct was to go to God and get everything from Him and number two, I was going to fight for my family.”
For more information on National Women and Girl HIV/Awarness Day, click here.
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