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World AIDS Day 2021: From Freddie Mercury to Charlie Sheen, celebrities who battled HIV

World AIDS Day 2021: Over the years, celebrities diagnosed with HIV have become more open to sharing their journey with their fans and well-wishers to spread awareness about AIDS.

December 01, 2021 / 02:52 PM IST
World AIDS Day 2021: Freddy Mercury and Charlie Sheen are among the celebrities who were diagnosed with HIV. (Image credit: Pinterest and Reuters)

World AIDS Day 2021: Freddy Mercury and Charlie Sheen are among the celebrities who were diagnosed with HIV. (Image credit: Pinterest and Reuters)


The late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury — who was diagnosed with HIV — refused to publicly acknowledge his condition due to the stigma attached with it until November 23, 1991. He had died from AIDS-related complications the next day.

On November 23, Freddie released a statement to the media confirming speculation that he had tested positive for the disease. “Following the enormous conjecture in the press over the last two weeks, I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV positive and have Aids,” read Mercury’s statement.

“I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me. However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with me, my doctors, and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease.”

It's been 30 years since and now celebrities across the world are more comfortable sharing their diagnosis and the journey with their fans and well-wishers.

Charlie Sheen

In 2015, 'The Two and a Half Men' star disclosed his HIV status on a TV interview. The Golden Globe-winning actor said, "I feel like I'm carrying the torch" for others battling the disease. "I feel like I'm carrying the torch... For a lot of folks out there that are suffering from the same thing."

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Magic Johnson
Retired professional basketball player Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr is the most well-known sportsman to disclose his HIV status. While Johnson can now attest to 30 years of life after being diagnosed with HIV, his journey living with the disease has been far from easy.

During a TV show, Johnson discussed living with HIV three decades after he was initially diagnosed with the virus prior to the 1991-92 NBA season. HE remembered the devastation of his diagnosis, and said that the most difficult part was having to tell his wife Cookie — who he had just married, and who had just become pregnant with their child.

Zackie AcmatZackie has been living with HIV since 1990. He has been the founder of the Treatment Action Campaign and has even fought for HIV access treatment in South Africa. He is known for refusing treatment until it became available to everyone in South Africa.
Ankita Sengupta

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