Throughout the years, there has been a stigma in the U.S. about HIV – it’s one of those diseases that most people hesitate to discuss, even though 1.2 million Americans have been diagnosed, and 50,000 new infections arise each year. That all changed in the 90s, when basketball star Magic Johnson publicly announced that he had contracted the life-threatening virus. For a while, people began publicly discussing the subject and learning about safe sex and prevention methods.
Unfortunately, 20 years later, many people still don’t get tested for fear of judgment in a public setting. But Johnson wouldn’t be, well, magical, if he didn’t step into the spotlight and fight for more awareness and alternate early detection methods. “If there’s a rally or someone needs my help in the fight against HIV and AIDS, I’m going to be there,” Johnson said at a recent press event. And that’s exactly what he did. Now on the market nationwide from OraSure Technologies is OraQuick, the first in-home HIV test. In the comfort of your own home, you can use an oral swab and know in 20 minutes whether or not strands of HIV-1 and -2 are detected.
“The reason I’m standing here, 21 years after I found out I have HIV, is because of early detection,” says Johnson. “A lot of people don’t want to go to their doctors or an HIV/AIDS clinic. Now we’ve taken that excuse away from them. I think it’s going to help drive more people to know their status and ultimately, that’s what we want.”
While we think this could definitely impact the number of people who are getting tested in a positive way, we have to wonder what happens if the test comes back positive? Without a doctor sitting next to them, will they have the comfort and education they need when hit with life-altering news?
Fortunately, an information packet and 24/7 hotline number is included in every test kit, which includes what next steps people should take if they found out they’re positive.
Johnson also notes that consistently taking his medication and having a stable fitness routine is his “secret sauce” for living out a long, healthy life despite his diagnosis. And since we’re big basketball fans over at FITNESS, we grabbed a few minutes of his time to find out more about his daily routine.
What would you do if two minutes from now, you raised $25,000 for your favorite charity? We’d be pretty impressed! And that’s exactly how we felt earlier this month when former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal did just that for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Shaq teamed up with Tupperware’s CEO Rick Goings and the two sparred in a “kitchen faceoff” to find out who could nail a better shot. But Shaq wasn’t the one shooting hoops! A self-claimed “expert at making cereal and turkey sandwiches,” the super tall basketball star was in the kitchen using Tupperware’s latest cooking gadgets to expand his skills and whip up fresh-fruit smoothies, while Goings shot free throws. At the end of two minutes, their numbers were tallied (smoothies and baskets made), three zeroes were tacked on and a check was written to Boys & Girls Club, a charity that Shaq was a part of himself while growing up in a rough area of New Jersey.
Before Goings started draining free throws though, Shaq gave him a few lessons on how to shoot that perfect shot (despite Shaq’s own troubles at the line, we’d say he’s got more insider knowledge than us!). Here’s the tips we nabbed so you can be a superstar next time you hit the courts, too:
- Toe the line. Step up to the free throw line and place your lead foot directly in line with the center of the rim, which will make it easier to nail a straight shot.
- Hand position is key. If you’re a righty, place your left hand on the side of the ball, and center your right directly in the middle. Keep your palms flat and wrists relaxed.
- Bend your knees. As you prep to let the ball fly, make sure there’s a good bend in your knee and keep your body centered toward the hoop. Tuck your elbow in so that it’s directly above your knee.
- Put a spin on it. Every shot needs some backspin to help it accurately get over to the net and through the hoop. When you shoot, let the ball roll off your hand all the way through your fingertips. As it’s leaving the fingertips, snap your wrist forward (toward the hoop) to give it that much-needed push.
And a bonus tip from us: visualize the ball. Before you let go, imagine that ball floating smoothly through the air and effortlessly sinking into the net. Positive thinking never hurts, and you never know what could happen! Happy shooting!
More from FITNESS:
- Queen of the Court: Tamika Catchings
- Upgrade Your Workout: The Best Extreme Sports to Try
- 6 Gym Alternatives and Local Co-Rec Sports Leagues
This week’s fit links from around the web:
- How getting organized can help you lose weight — Fitbie
- Dr. Oz shares the warning signs of heart disease for women — AOL
- Going vegan for Lent? Here are 5 recipes to try — NYT Well
- Family fitness: 5 basketball games you can play with your kids! — Diets in Review
- 3 reasons March Madness is good for your health (and 2 reasons it’s not) — Everyday Health