Basketball stars unite in video to fight public prejudice on HIV

2005 April 9  |  South China Morning Post
By Dikky Sinn
A short film featuring basketball superstars Yao Ming and Earvin "Magic" Johnson will be shown today in an appeal for public acceptance of HIV/Aids sufferers.
Yao, the 2.28-metre Houston Rockets centre, will ask viewers to show compassion for people infected with HIV. Former Los Angeles Lakers star Johnson, who has HIV, will explain that the virus is not transmitted through ordinary social contact such as hugging, shaking hands or eating together.
The retired player tested positive for HIV in 1991.
The premiere for the film - jointly organised by the Department of Health and the Committee on Promoting Acceptance of People Living with HIV/Aids - will be held during the Hong Kong Silver Shield Basketball Tournament 2005, at Mongkok's MacPherson Playground at 4pm.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said people infected with HIV could lead normal lives if they were given public acceptance and support from relatives and friends.
The 30-second, anti-discriminatory video clip is a local version of a promotional film on Aids care produced by the China AIDS Media Project and the American National Basketball Association. The original film, in which the two NBA stars play basketball together, has been broadcast on the mainland since last year and been well received.
This is the Hong Kong government's second film on HIV/Aids featuring an HIV-infected person. The video can be viewed on the website www.aids.gov.hk
The department reported a record high of 268 HIV cases last year, up from 229 in 2003.
Sexual transmission remains the major means of the spread of HIV in Hong Kong, which is estimated to have more than 3,000 people suffering from HIV/Aids.
(c) 2005 South China Morning Post Publishers Limited, Hong Kong. All rights reserved.