On Valentine’s Day, with his girlfriend at his side, boxer Tommy Morrison said he was not sure how he contracted HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
“I don’t know if I got it from a girl or fighting,” said Morrison, 27, on Wednesday afternoon in an exclusive interview with the Kansas City Star from his home in Southwest City, Mo., on the Oklahoma border.
“It doesn’t matter how I got it. I’m going to do everything I can to educate people.
“Four or five years ago I was a big, tough guy, thinking I was bulletproof. I considered myself pretty selective. I never really thought about it (AIDS).”
His girlfriend, Dawn Freeman, sat and listened as Morrison discussed his past promiscuity, his family and the turn his life has taken since he found out Saturday in Las Vegas that he had tested positive for HIV.
Morrison will face more questions today, when he holds his first meeting with reporters in a ballroom at the Marriott Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla.
“All I can do is tell the truth,” Morrison said.
Morrison admitted that four to five years ago he was very promiscuous. He didn’t put a number on how many women he had sex with, and he said he’s not even sure that he contracted HIV from sleeping around.
But Morrison said Freeman is the only woman he has been sexually active with him since they began living together when he moved back to Oklahoma nearly two years ago.
Freeman, 23, also was tested for AIDS on Monday. She admitted that she was nervous about the result. They still were waiting test results from Atlanta.
“I feel like he does,” said Freeman, who grew up in Jay, Okla., 20 miles from Southwest City. “It hasn’t hit home. As long as he’s OK, I’m OK.”
Morrison talked Wednesday about becoming a spokesman on the prevention of AIDS.
“Absolutely,” he said. “People have got to know about it, especially my generation - Generation X. I will let them know I screwed up. I didn’t listen to Magic Johnson.”
Even now it’s hard for Morrison to believe something is wrong. He says he feels healthy and still runs.
“This is hard to accept,” he said. “Usually, if you have something wrong with you, you will know. I’m healthy and I will remain healthy. I talked to Earvin (Magic Johnson) last night, and he said he felt the same way.”
Morrison said he’s bothered by rumors that he knew he had the virus and attempted to hide it.
“I’m glad I found out now,” he said. “I could have fought another four or five years. I don’t want to put someone’s life in danger. I don’t care what doctors say. I think it can be passed through the eyes and cuts. I don’t think they know.”
Morrison said he wished he could shield his family and friends from reporters.
“I wish I could go through this by myself,” Morrison said.
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