14 HIV-Infected Celebrities Who Brought Awareness To The Deadly Disease

During the 1980s, many people were introduced to the deadly virus known as HIV. No one knew what this disease was and how to prevent it. People were being careless with their lives and a lot of contractions and deaths from HIV were occurring. It is now 2012 and the numbers may be down and we may have medicine available to help control it and allow people to live longer while being HIV positive, but it is still an epidemic. Many celebrities have helped put a face to this terrible disease and we will look at some of those faces in the list of HIV Positive Celebrities.

Magic Johnson

Photo: WENN

Magic Johnson has been one of the biggest faces for HIV and HIV awareness. He told the public back in 1991 about his disease and it pretty much put an end to his career in the NBA, even though he did try a few comebacks. He has proved that HIV doesn’t have to bring you down and he has started the Magic Johnson Foundation to help bring awareness through HIV education and helps those living with HIV.

Arthur Ashe

Arthur Ashe was a humanitarian and civil rights activist and also a Hall of Fame tennis star. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1988, but did not tell the world until four years later. He lived for another year and during that year he spoke to the U.N. on World AIDS Day and started an AIDS Foundation.

Greg Louganis

Photo: WENN

Greg Louganis is an Olympic diver who won many gold medals during the 1980s. He tested positive for HIV back in 1988, the same year he won two gold medals. He did not share it with the world until seven years later, but now is the face for many HIV causes.

Freddie Mercury

Photo: WENN

Freddie Mercury was the lead singer of the ’70s rock band Queen. They are known for such great songs like “We Are The Champions” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Freddie tested positive for HIV in 1987 and four years later he passed away from AIDS-related pneumonia. His death came one day after he told the world he had AIDS.


Eazy-E was a rap legend and one of the co-founders of N.W.A. He shocked the world in 1995 when he got sick and announced that he had AIDS. He passed away one month later at the age of 31! He may have died way too young, but he also brought awareness to the disease.

Rock Hudson

Photo: WENN

Rock Hudson was the man on the big screen during the ’50s and ’60s, but his death in 1985 is what really took the world by surprise. While he was sick, his publicity team stated he had liver cancer. A little before his death, Hudson told the world he was HIV positive, which led to the fact that this ladies’ man of the big screen was indeed gay.

Robert Reed

He was known as Mike Brady to most of the world, so how could this loving and caring husband and father be gay? It did not come out until after his death in 1992. He tested positive before his death, but the world did not find out until after he passed away, like so many people on this list.

Pedro Zamora

Pedro Zamora is probably the poster child for HIV and bringing awareness to the younger community of this terrible disease. He found out about his diagnosis in 1989 and immediately became an AIDS educator. He then appeared on MTV’s Real World in 1994, which exposed him to a large, young audience. As the season went on he became more and more sick. At the age of 22, Pedro passed away in November 1994, just one day after the final episode of Real World aired. Since his passing, many charities have been formed in his honor.

Gia Garangi

Gia Carangi is another case of a young woman losing her life early to HIV. She was one of the biggest models during the ’70s and ’80s. Everyone wanted her on their magazine covers, including Vogue and Cosmopolitan. The issue: she developed a bad heroin addiction during the 1980s. She later found out she was HIV positive and passed away in 1986 at the age of 26.

Perry Ellis

Perry Ellis was and still is one of the leading fashion designers in the world. His merchandise can be purchased in many department stores. He lived as an openly gay man and in 1986 he passed away from AIDS-related complications. His partner passed away the same year. Ellis was one of the first prominent figures to pass away from this terrible disease.


Liberace was known for being flamboyant and over-the-top with his ways, but he was also one of the highest paid acts out there during the ’50s. He passed away in 1987 due to AIDS-related complications, but that was all kept secret until after his death.

Kevin Peter Hall

Kevin Peter Hall was an actor who came in at 7’2″ tall, so needless to say he played the roles of many monsters in his day. He played the monster in Predator, Harry and the Hendersons and Predator. In 1990, he was in a car accident in Los Angeles and required a blood transfusion. The blood was contaminated with HIV and he later contracted AIDS and died shortly after.

Tom Fogerty

Tom Fogerty was another person that contracted the virus from a blood tranfusion. Fogerty is best known for being part of the band Creedence Clearwater Revival, which he formed with his brother John Fogerty. John was getting all the attention, so Tom quit the band and focused on a solo career until his death in 1990.

Anthony Perkins

 Photo: WENN

Anthony Perkins had a long career in Hollywood, but may be best known for his role as Norman Bates in Psycho. This is a crazy story, but he found out he was HIV positive only after seeing a story about it in the National Enquirer in 1990! He had thought he was positive, but never got checked because of fear. The story prompted him to go get checked and he was HIV positive and died two years later.

  • Ana Gambina

    Greg Louganis is no hero. During the Olympics he gashed his head open in a diving accident and when he was examined by Olympic officials he kept his HIV status a secret so that he could stay in the Olympics! He didn’t care that they were unprotected AND COMING IN CONTACT WITH HIS BLOOD!!

    • Patty

      You try having it and having to admit it … I do feel that you should protect others and tell when there is fresh blood though the virus does not live long out side of the body and also chlorine will kill it but the people taking care of him at the time needed to know that is why now all medicine personal have to act as if there is aids or some other diseases that can be spread that way.

    • Bert

      FYI – HIV is not transmittable through Water, especially not through water that contains chlorine or similar as is the case in public pools …

    • lamja00

      Admit it!!!

  • Freethinker01

    Barring criminal activity and transmission by birth, HIV is the domain of IV drug users and the sexually promiscuous.
    Stop those two behaviors and HIV will cease to exist.

  • steve….

    They forgot one….amanda blake….gunsmoke….

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tiffanie-MadameGigglez-Thomas/665285721 Tiffanie MadameGigglez Thomas

    Ryan White? The kid who got it from a blood transfusion and was outcasted by his by most of his town…. he made a HUGE impact. Although i guess he wouldnt be considered a celebrity…

  • yea

    liverace was shot… he didnt die of AIDS.

    • Mike Hunt

      That’s Versace that you’re thinking of, genius.

      • Beckster14


  • TuriChic

    Attributing some of these individuals’ contraction of HIV to their sexuality is very offensive.

    • say it!

      …But true

    • jim reynolds

      Check out the US Center’s for Disease Control , website . Guess who is at the top of the list ? HOMOSEXUALS

  • Reese

    Didn’t know about Perry Ellis

  • Say whaaaaa

    Oh wow I had no idea magic Johnson had it

    • Yaya

      You’re kidding, right? At this point, he’s more known for HIV than basketball.

  • sports

    Arthur Ashe was effected through a blood transfusion.

  • Eddie

    If you’re go’n to report on the Celebrities, at least spell Gia “Carangi’s” Name correctly… E

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  • jim reynolds

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  • jim reynolds

    According to the website WEBMD , the transmission of the HIV / AIDS virus between HOMOSEXUALS , is by way of SODOMY !!!

  • Jamie

    Many of these people who contracted HIV did so by their own stupidty.

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