Today, more than 1.2 million people are living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) - a deadly virus that attacks the immune system. The HIV virus can be transmitted through semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk, blood transfusions, and the sharing of hypodermic needles. When left untreated, HIV can become AIDS - the most advanced stage of the virus which leaves you susceptible to cancers and infections that will slowly eat away at your body.
Thanks to the advancements in medicine, as well as greater knowledge, the life expectancy of those living with HIV has drastically increased throughout the years. Back in the '80s, HIV was a death sentence. Many celebrities, including actor Rock Hudson, tennis pro Arthur Ashe, Freddie Mercury of the band Queen, and Liberace all battled the virus but eventually lost their lives. Today, the average HIV-positive person can expect to live up to the age of 80 years old, an age that is on par with those living without the virus.
HIV does not discriminate based on race, sexual orientation, tax bracket, nor gender, and there are many celebrities who are publicly living their lives as they battle the virus, too. These celebs were strong enough to face the virus head on, and many of them have made it their mission to spread awareness and raise funds to aid HIV and AIDS-related causes.
Keep reading to see our list of 10 celebs who received a dreaded HIV-positive diagnosis, but they are still alive and able to live normal and healthy lives thanks to modern medicine.
10 Jerry Herman
9 Andy Bell
8 Greg Louganis
7 Chuck Panozzo
6 Danny Pintauro
5 Andrew Sullivan
4 Viktor Luna
3 Rudy Galindo
Another Olympian to contract the HIV virus is Rudy Galindo - US figure skating champion. Galindo took home the gold medal in 1996, and was crowned the World Junior Champion in 1997. In 2000, at the height of his career, he announced he was HIV-positive. Galindo has seen firsthand how devastating the HIV-virus can be. His skating coaches and his brother died of the virus, so naturally, he was afraid he would suffer the same fate.
2 Magic Johnson
1 Charlie Sheen
Former Two and a Half Men star, Charlie Sheen, had been haunted by HIV-positive rumors for years. Instead of announcing his diagnosis, he went the route of paying off those who leaked stories to the media. He wasn't comfortable with revealing his status, and felt that it would severely damage his career. Finally, in November 2015, the actor confirmed he is HIV-positive in a sit down interview with Today show host Matt Lauer. The 50-year-old actor felt that it was finally time to better himself, and to "help a lot of other people." He hoped that by revealing his status, others would be brave enough to do the same.
Sources: Cdc.gov, Hivplusmag.com, Aidsmap.com, Today.com, Pbs.org, Chicagotribune.com, Thewrap.com, Umich.edu, Nytimes.com, Usmagazine.com
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