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When they first learned of Magic's status as HIV-positive, Magic and Cookie say they both believed it was essentially a death sentence. They quickly learned otherwise, especially for people who are diagnosed early in their infection.

To strengthen his immune system, Magic maintains a strenuous health regimen with a daily workout that includes an hour on an exercise bike followed by weight training. His diet consists of low-fat, low-sugar meals like skinless chicken, vegetables, fruits. He also takes three pills twice a day.

Magic says the early years of his treatment were tough as side effects from the medications wore him down. "In the beginning it was terrible—mood swings, going to the restroom a lot, and [my] stomach just upset," he says. "But I think my workout balances the medicine out."

To get over these rough times, Magic says it was necessary to maintain a positive attitude. "It plays, to me, just as much [of a role] as the medicine plays," he says.

Magic and Cookie initially didn't know how the diagnosis would affect their sex life. "We got a lot of information right away," Cookie says. "It changed a little bit, but you just have to make sure that you use your protection. And once you do that, it's very normal."

"We're still doing our thing," Magic adds. "You know, you've still got to live. Life does go on. That's what everybody doesn't understand. You're going to still live a normal life [with HIV and AIDS]."
FROM: NBA Legend Magic Johnson and the New Faces of HIV/AIDS in America
Published on October 26, 2006


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