On Tuesday, November 7, Earvin "Magic" Johnson dedicated the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center to the millions of people who have who have lived with or died from HIV or AIDS. With its highly anticipated opening early next year, the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center will be the first museum in the country dedicated to educating the world about the continuing HIV and AIDS epidemic as well as empowering its survivors.
Twenty-two years ago, Magic Johnson announced to the world that he was HIV positive. Since then, Johnson has become a prominent advocate HIV awareness and intervention. With the establishment of the Magic Johnson Foundation in 1991, the former basketball champion has developed and funded programs addressing prevention, testing, and treatment for around HIV and AIDS.
The World AIDS Museum and Educational Center will offer traveling and interactive exhibits that allow people from all over the world to participate and tell their own stories about living with HIV. This personal and emotional element is designed to offer visitors a historical perspective from the discovery of what was once called the "gay cancer" to today, when medical science seems perpetually on the cusp of new discovery.
"The World AIDS Museum concept is one that was created years ago by a group of individuals who each had been affected by HIV/AIDS," said Steve Stagon, president and CEO of the museum. "We realize the importance of sharing the history of AIDS to not only educate people who have no idea of what it is and who it impacts, but also to convey the message, 'This cannot happen again.' The world cannot isolate groups and fail to help because the group may not represent everyone. By addressing the disease with research and technology, AIDS can not only be controlled, but is on the brink of eradication. We should have been at this point years ago."