For Immediate Release


Mon., Nov. 7, 2011  

Charles R. Drew University Gives Free HIV Screenings, Marking 20 Years of Basketball Legend’s HIV Diagnosis


LOS ANGELES - Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science hosted on Mon., Nov. 7 free HIV testing in south Los Angeles, marking the 20th anniversary of basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s diagnosis of the virus.

Cynthia Davis (left) with CDU students Ijeoma Ike (middle) and Danielle Campbell (right) of Urban Public Health, a graduate level program.

The testing, part of “Point Forward Day,” was organized with similar HIV testing in Miami and Washington, D.C. The events were held in recognition of Mr. Johnson, who announced two decades ago at the peak of his Hall of Fame career with the Los Angeles Lakers that he contracted the virus and announced an early retirement from basketball.

Despite a condition that many considered to be a death sentence, Mr. Johnson never retreated from the public eye. He became an ambassador for those living with the virus, raising his celebrity even more. Adhering to his medical treatment and rigorous physical exercise, he defied a physical demise that back then was common for those with HIV. For this reason, he symbolized hope for many living with the virus that they, too, might lead healthy lives with few limitations.  

"Magic Johnson has been a blessing to the black community over the past 20 years,” said Cynthia Davis, an assistant professor and project director of the CDU Mobile HIV Testing Van Project. “By coming out and sharing with the community his HIV positive status, he has been able to breakdown barriers of shame and stigma surrounding HIV infection. He set an example for the nation, and because he sought immediate medical help and treatment, he is still alive after living with the HIV virus for 20 years."

The University offered on Monday free HIV testing through Mrs. Davis, who pioneered mobile HIV testing in Los Angeles more than two decades ago and was one of the first recipients of a grant in 1991 from the Magic Johnson Foundation. Students in Urban Public Health, a graduate program at the University, assisted her.

The Magic Johnson Foundation, which raises funds for HIV/AIDS education and prevention, was the main organizer of events in Los Angeles and elsewhere through “Point Forward Day,” in partnership with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest global AIDS organization. Read Mrs. Davis’ remarks delivered during the “Point Forward Day” webcast.  

Confidential screening was provided from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Earvin Magic Johnson Recreation Area, 905 E. El Segundo Blvd., in South Los Angeles. The first 100 people, who took an HIV or STD test, received free meals from Earlez’ Grille, a local restaurant and caterer, or gift cards from Subway eateries.


For more information, please contact:
Daryl Strickland

Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science
Telephone: (562) 229-4924
Office : (323) 563-4983


About Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
CDU is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian, minority-serving medical and health sciences institution.  Located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles, CDU has graduated more than 550 medical doctors, 2,500 post-graduate physicians, more than 2,000 physician assistants and hundreds of other health professionals.  The only dually designated Historically Black Graduate Institution and Hispanic Serving Health Professions School in the U.S., CDU is recognized as a leader in translational and health inequities research, specifically with respect to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health, and HIV/AIDS.  Recently, the CDU/UCLA medical program was named the “best performer” in the University of California System with respect to producing outstanding underrepresented minority physicians by the Greenlining Institute.  For more information, visit .


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