Powerful drugs have reduced the AIDS virus in Magic Johnson’s body to undetectable levels but the basketball star isn’t cured, his doctors said Friday.
“Earvin is doing very well,” Dr. David Ho and Dr. Michael Mellman, physicians for Johnson, said in a joint statement.
“However, we must emphasize that ‘undetectable’ doesn’t equal ‘absent.’ It would be premature and incorrect to say Earvin is ‘virus free.’ We are very pleased he has adhered to his daily drug regimen, and that is reflected in his good health.”
“His viral activity is infinitesimal,” Johnson agent Lon Rosen said. But he acknowledged that did not mean the virus was gone.
Johnson, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1979 to 1992, disclosed in November 1991 that he was HIV-positive. He coached the team for the final 16 games of the 1993-94 season and came out of retirement to play the second half of last season before retiring for good. He owns a small portion of the Lakers.
At 37, Johnson maintains a strenuous exercise program and plays basketball with the Magic Johnson All-Stars, a team that competes in exhibition games.