Views on the AIDS Epidemic: Public Figures Diagnosed with AIDS

Floyd Parker, Jr., Magic Johnson, and Pastor Charles Krimmel have two vital things in common; they were influential and were HIV positive. The difference between Magic Johnson, compared to Parker Jr., and Pastor Charles is Magic Johnson caught the virus early which granted him decades more to live. While Parker Jr. and Pastor Krimmel’s life was short-lived soon after they were diagnosed with AIDS. This didn’t stop the continuous support for each of these men, in fact, this brought many people together changing the outlook of the epidemic. With more spokespeople, we will see the rate of new cases drastically decrease.

 Parker Jr., was an avid videographer at the University of North Carolina Tar Heel’s basketball program and up until his health began to turmoil. The other members of the UNC Educational Foundation didn’t shun him from what he loved to do, instead, they treated him the same as they did before knowing of his deadly disease. John Kohl, Alan Miller, and Phillip Lowry combined their knowledge and research to make a study of how people infected with AIDS are protected through governmental policies. This could be helpful with Parker, Jr. because he worked for UNC Educational Foundation and there may have been a policy in place for him to continue working there without worrying about discrimination. Although, he could have just been well respected and despite his status of AIDS that respect still remained.

 When Magic Johnson announced he was HIV positive while also retiring from the NBA almost in the same breath, he decided he would become a spokesperson with the hopes of minimizing the amounts of people being diagnosed after him. He was very bold to do this as his career was at its peak, but he made the right decision. This not only made him more respected than he was before but it also made people more aware of this disease and more open to discussing it since someone they may look up to has it. This decision helped others feel comfortable in going to get tested to learn their status. Which was very vital considering how new the disease was at the time.

 Pastor Charles has an entire quilt dedicated to him, and it was made by his congregation and other loved ones. Oftentimes, when someone dies from this disease they are only given a panel on the quilt because only one person made it in memory of them. This shows that although the cause of his death was because of a disease, his legacy and impact still lives. Unlike many panels, Pastor Charles’ quilt, included seven panels dedicated to him. As with Pastor Charles, his congregation still wanted him to preach to them even after the news, although learning that this wouldn’t be accepted in the ELCA at the time. The adults accompanied by their children visited him in the hospital and offered their blessings to him while he did the same.