December is AIDS Awareness Month and we are shining the spotlight on celebrities who have been living with the disease for years
While there is still a stigma attached to having HIV/AIDS, many celebrities are doing their bit to help create awareness about the disease.
One of the most famous A-list stars to publicly reveal their status is Magic Johnson.
He was diagnosed in 1991 and has been using his brand to create awareness ever since.
Here’s a look at local and international stars living with the disease.
HIV-Aids activist Criselda Kananda-Dudumashe has been living with the disease for more than two decades. The media personality revealed in a 2017 Instagram post that when she first found out she had HIV, she thought it was a death sentence.
“‘How long doctor?’ as I barely whispered. I saw the blank look on his face. ‘How long do I have, living with this?’ Maximum, two years as you were lucky we discovered it early. It’s nineteen years later, I’m [still] here,” she wrote.
Criselda took to Instagram on World Aids Day on Sunday to discuss the stigmas associated with HIV-Aids
“Many people still fear knowing their status because of the stigma associated with being known to be HIV infected. This has to end,” she wrote.
Criselda urged people to stop gossiping about those with HIV and encouraged her followers to know their status “for you own health benefit”.
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Who’s the Boss? child star, Danny Pintauro, was diagnosed with HIV in 2003. He opened up about his HIV status during an emotional interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2015. Danny revealed that he contracted HIV while experimenting with drugs like crystal meth. A drug-fuelled encounter with a man he did not even know led to the life-changing diagnosis.
“I went in for a regular checkup. You know, as a responsible gay man, you’re getting an HIV test done every six months… And you sort of waited two weeks on pins and needles, or at least I did, because I was just terrified of the idea of getting HIV… You’ve spent so much time terrified that you’re going to get it, and then you have it. You don’t have to be terrified anymore,” he told Oprah.
Danny now works as a veterinary and pharmacy technician.
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Musa ‘Queen’ Njoko
Gospel singer Musa ‘Queen’ Njoko was diagnosed with HIV when she was just 22 years old. She was given just three months to live. More than 20 years later she is living life to the fullest. The HIV activist has given talks all over South Africa to help create awareness about living with the disease.
“I am not proud to be HIV-positive, but I am also not ashamed. HIV is not my name, nor my identity. I am not a disgrace or an embarrassment to my family and community. I am not a liability to my community and country,” she said at a 2016 event.
Queen also started the Musa Njoko Wellness Services in 2001 to help people with HIV and TB.
“Our theme and message is about hope and passion for life and we focus on ‘inner’ wellbeing,” she told Exclusive Books in an interview.