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Magic Johnson endorses new At-home HIV testing kit

Earvin Magic€ Johnson

By// Mariah Craddick

Former NBA player and AIDS/HIV activist Earvin “Magic” Johnson has given his stamp of approval to OraQuick, the first FDA-approved over-the-counter HIV testing kit, by becoming their poster boy. The kit, lauded by Johnson as “a game changer,” allows individuals to test in the privacy of their own homes.

“In our black and brown community, there’s always been excuses of why people won’t go to the doctor to get tested,” he told the Associated Press. “Now we’re taking that all away from them.”

According to The Huffington Post, OraQuick produces results in 20 minutes and will be available at pharmacies and online for $40. The FDA cautions that the test is not 100 percent accurate in identifying people with the virus, but is 99.9 percent accurate in ruling it out in patients not carrying the disease.

“After I announced…people were running out to actually get tested,” Johnson said at a presentation by Orasure Technologies for the test. “But fast-forward to today, people are not talking about it like they used to.”

Johnson went on to say he hopes this new test encourages more people—especially African-Americans—to get tested or at least get the conversation started again.

“When you think about the black and brown community, the stigma behind HIV and AIDS in our community…this kit will help,” he said. “That’s the people who I was thinking about most when I thought about this kit.”

Hear some of Johnson’s thoughts below: