Magic Johnson brings AIDS awareness to S. Fla.

Former NBA star on Dream Team of HIV and AIDS

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MIAMI - Former NBA star Earvin "Magic" Johnson is teaming up with the University of Miami to offer more help to people living with HIV and AIDS.

Miami-Dade and Broward counties rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the nation for new AIDS cases. Johnson said he wanted to come to Florida for that reason.

Johnson, who has lived with HIV for about two decades, has participated in grassroots efforts and campaigns in the past to spread awareness of the disease, but this is the first time he has partnered with a hospital and a special health group to make sure the message is heard.

"I am excited. It's great that this is about the people," Johnson said.

Johnson will be the spokesman for the so-called Dream Team of HIV and AIDS. Magic Johnson Enterprises has teamed up with the University of Miami and Clear Health Alliance to target South Floridians. Johnson's company has contributed thousands of dollars to educate people about the disease.

"Getting the word out -- first, we've got to educate them about HIV and AIDS. Then, we have to provide the proper care, which we are going to do. And then, last but not least, we have to deal with them in their way of first making sure we get them comfortable with coming to the doctor," Johnson said.

A part of the effort is geared toward minorities, who have had the highest number of reported cases.

Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence Jones said she is thankful for the help.

"I'm excited today that University of Miami has partnered with Magic Johnson to not only provide the health care but to provide the education," Johnson said.

About $100 million will be used in the effort statewide. Some of the money will go toward building health centers.

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