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World AIDS Day: 5 celebrities with HIV/AIDS

World AIDS Day: 5 celebrities with HIV/AIDS

5 celebrities who suffered from HIV/AIDS.

Written by Kriti Saraswat |Updated : December 1, 2014 10:31 AM IST

December 1 is World AIDS Day. HIV/AIDS is not a disease which affects only the lower strata of the society, sex workers and homosexuals. Anyone and everyone can be its victim, even celebrities. Here's a list of five famous personalities who had AIDS.

Freddie Mercury (1946-1991)

FreddieA Parsi boy who spent his childhood in India and Zanzibar, Freddie was the lead vocalist of a rock band namedQueen. He was also a songwriter and musician. Freddie changed his name from Farrokh Bulsara when in boarding school. He was diagnosed with AIDS in the year 1987 but kept it away from the public despite several media speculations. He finally came out in the open about his illness in 1991 and just two days later, died of bronchopneumonia caused by AIDS. Some of his best works include We are the Champions, Killer Queen, Somebody to Love. He was ranked at number 18 by Rolling Stones magazine in 2008, in the 100 greatest singers of all times list.

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Liberace (1919-1987)

LiberaceA flamboyant pianist and vocalist, Liberace was one of the highest-paid entertainers in the world from 1950s-1970s. He started playing the piano at the age of 4 and later had his own television show called The Liberace Show on a local LA network which was a huge hit. He was also known for his flashy and over-the-top outfit selections. Liberace's poor health began in the late '80s and was later discovered that he suffered from AIDS. He died at the age of 67 at his home in California.

Arthur Ashe (1943-1993)

Arthur-AsheA tennis player par excellence, Ashe was the first African-American who ever got selected in the US Davis Cup team and was also the only black to win the singles' title at the US Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon. He is also known for winning three Grand Slam titles. He tested HIV+ after a blood transfusion and was open about his illness. He also founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS but lost his life to AIDS-related pneumonia in 1993.

Rock Hudson (1925-1985)

Rock-HudsonRock was a leading American actor in the '50s and '60s known for his romantic comedies Giant, Magnificent Obsession. He starred in over 70 films and also did television soaps making him a huge star of his time. He was the first popular celebrity to die of AIDS. Though he was diagnosed with it, his illness was kept under wraps for a year. But his various public experiences where he looked ill and gaunt got the media curious. He passed away in his sleep at his house in Beverly Hills.

Earvin 'Magic' Johnson (1959-present)

Earvin-Magic-JohnsonJonhson is a retired basketball player who won five NBA championships during his career. He played for 13 NBA seasons for the LA Lakers. After learning that he had contracted HIV, he retired from the game but returned twice before his final game. He accepted the fact that he contracted the virus as a result of having multiple sexual partners. He founded the Magic Johnson Foundation and joined the National Commission on AIDS to spread awareness and combat the disease.

What is HIV?

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that destroys or impairs the function of the body's immune system making the person more susceptible to infections. Unless treated, it develops into full-blown acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The virus infects humans when it comes in contact with tissues lining the vagina, anal area, mouth and eyes, or through a break in the skin. There are two main types HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-2 is typically found in Africa and parts of Asia. HIV-2 is typically found in Africa and parts of Asia. Asia can thus no longer be considered free of HIV-2, and testing for HIV-2 appears mandatory, at least in India. Worldwide, when people refer to HIV they are usually referring to HIV-1. (Read: Getting tested for HIV)

What is AIDS?

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) isn't a disease in itself. It is a condition in caused by HIV in which the body's immune system fails to battle foreign microorganisms. This leads to various opportunistic infections and/or certain cancers. It is the most advanced stage of HIV infection. (Read: AIDS causes, symptoms, treatment)

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of hiv/aids.

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