Though South Africa has the biggest and most high profile HIV epidemic in the world, with an estimated seven million people living with HIV in 2015. Over the years, some prominent figures and celebrities have lent their voices to the cause and some have sadly lost their lives to HIV/Aids.
In recent years more and more celebrities and public figures have become vocal about living with the disease, crushing the myth that HIV/Aids is a death sentence.
Here are some celebrities who have disclosed their status and are living positively with HIV/Aids.
Musa ‘Queen’ Njoko
Gospel singer Musa ‘Queen’ Njoko has been living with HIV/Aids for 21 years. She was only 22 when she was diagnosed and at the time, there was no treatment available in South Africa. Njoko has since become one of the most prominent voices fighting HIV/Aids.
Zackie Achmat is the co-founder of the Treatment Action Campaign and was a pivotal figure in the fight for access to treatment in South Africa during Thabo Mbeki’s presidency. The activist has been living with HIV since 1990 and famously refused treatment until it was accessible to everyone in South Africa.
Radio personality, motivational speaker and professional counselor Criselda Dudumashe is one of the most famous figures who has been outspoken about HIV/Aids in South Africa. She was diagnosed with HIV more than 13 years ago and serves on the board of the South African National Aids Council. She had a high profile wedding in 2015 to Siyolo Dudumashe.
Charlie Sheen is one of the latest celebrities to disclose his HIV status after an exclusive interview with NBC’s Today Show in 2015. The former Two and a Half Men star returned to the show and told Matt Laurer that his admission was “like being released from prison”.
Justice Edwin Cameron
Hailed by Nelson Mandela as “one of South Africa’s new heroes”, Constitutional Court of South Africa judge Edwin Cameron has been living with HIV since the 1980s. The celebrated judge who has won many awards has been described as “the greatest legal mind of his generation” and “in a league of his own”.
American retired professional basketball player, Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr is probably the most well-known sportsman to disclose his HIV status. He has been living with the disease for 25 years and has committed himself to educating and informing people about the disease.
Thabang Sefatsa is one of the more recent SA celebrities to disclose his HIV status. The former footballer also revealed that the reason why players do not disclose their status is because soccer bosses are not very kind to players living with the disease.