EXCLUSIVE: Magic Johnson on Charlie Sheen's HIV Announcement: 'I Would Love for Him to Join That Fight With Me
By Antoinette Bueno
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Perhaps nobody can empathize more with Charlie Sheen right now than Magic Johnson.
ET caught up with the 56-year-old basketball legend on Wednesday, when he talked about the actor's headline-making announcement on Tuesday that he's HIV positive. In 1991, Johnson announced that he was HIV positive.
"Well first of all, I want him to have a long life," Johnson exclusively told ET's Kevin Frazier. "He must get a good doctor, get on the meds, because when I announced almost 24 years ago [that I was HIV positive] there was only one drug -- now there's over 30. So I think he has a really good chance of living a long, productive life."
Johnson also encouraged the former Two and a Half Men star to help advocate against HIV and AIDS. The former NBA star created the Magic Johnson Foundation to help combat HIV, which has since evolved to address other epidemics in urban communities, such as the lack of educational opportunity.
"What I want him to do after he wraps his arms around his new status, is to really join the HIV/AIDS fight, to go out and educate young people about the disease when and if he is ready," he said. "So I'm here for him. I would love for him to join that fight with me because we can do some great work out here."
"I wish @CharlieSheen and his family the best," he wrote. "With the advancement in treatments and medicine he can fight this disease and live a long life."
Indeed, Sheen's doctor, Robert Huizenga, has spoken out and referred to the 50-year-old star as "healthy." He also said that due to Sheen regularly taking his medication, the actor has an undetectable level of the virus in his blood.
Sheen talked about his new sense of responsibility on the Today show.
"I have a responsibility now to better myself and to help a lot of other people," he toldco-host Matt Lauer. "And hopefully with what we're doing today, others may come forward and say, 'Thanks Charlie. Thanks for kicking the door open.'"
"My partying days are behind me," Sheen also wrote in an open letter. "My philanthropic days are ahead of me."