Josh Robbins Shows How Celebrities with HIV Helped Battle Stigma: WATCH

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HIV activist, Influencer, and regulation hottie Josh Robbins has found incredible opportunities furthering his activism working with Dating dot Com as their spokesman. Finding their commitment to the community deep and authentic,“From the webseries, Life with Josh, to their blog, WAXoh!,  the team clearly wants to educate about STIs, reduce stigma, and believes everyone deserves love (or a date or a hookup). And I agree, completely! Their sensitivity to the issues around entering this niche dating space is important — they believe people should have a choice and venue to date without fear of being stigmatized,” Robbins says.

Photo above: Josh Robbins 

In his newest video produced under the WAXoh! moniker,  Robbins gives us a brief history of celebrities who have come out publicly about their status and how that has contributed to destigmatizing of the disease.

In the voice over, Robbins says, “Celebrities have a unique power to raise awareness about important issues. They have a built in fan base that listens. They have the star power to demand media attention when it’s newsworthy, and they can be catalyst for nationwide and sometimes even international change and advocacy. When it comes to celebrities announcing an HIV or AIDS diagnosis, it can carry the news cycle for the day and have everyone talking about living with the virus on and offline. But behind these celebrity announcements are personal stories of resilience, at times uncertainty, telling the world that they are living with HIV.”


Following is the full script:

In 1991 Magic Irving Johnson shocked the sports world when he announced that he was retiring effective immediately from the Los Angeles Lakers after he tested positive for HIV.


While turning in his basketball shoes, he put on his advocacy shoes by opening the Magic Johnson Foundation which serves more than 250,000 individuals each year through programs that enhance the lives of economically challenged people and empower underserved communities. Magic remains a visible icon in the HIV movement and lives with his supportive wife Cookie.

On November 22, 1991, Queen front man, ‪Freddy Mercury‬ released a public statement confirming the reporting of tabloid news that he was living with AIDS. Mercury had been hounded with questions from journalist and fans about his deteriorating appearance and health for years—which he initially denied to protect his family and friends from any related stigma. Two days after releasing the statement, Mercury died at the age of 45 in West London.


On November 17, 2015, Charlie Sheen unloaded a bombshell on NBC’s Today Show during an interview with Matt Lauer revealing he had been living with HIV for four years. Sheen’s public announcement was made prior to a celebrity gossip publication’s pending reporting about his diagnosis. Sheen also mentioned financial blackmail as a reason for his announcement, showcasing the financial pressure put on some celebrities to maintain the secrecy of such a stigmatizing condition.


Sheen’s story and announcement had a huge impact on internet searches about HIV and AIDS in the U.S., coined the Sheen Effect. In fact Science Daily published a study on it.


The study coauthor Benjamin Althouse, a research scientist with the Institute of Disease Modeling says, “In absolute terms, it’s hard to appreciate the magnitude of Sheen’s disclosure However, when we compared Sheen’s disclosure to other traditional awareness campaigns the ‘Charlie Sheen effect’ is astonishing.”


In 2015, former child star of Who’s The Boss Danny Pintauro, went on a world wind media tour that included a revealing interview with Oprah Winfrey to discuss his HIV diagnosis along with detailing his recovery journey from drug abuse. Throughout his initial media attention, Pintauro raised the eyebrows of HIV advocates who publicly questioned his explanation of potential exposure to HIV from oral sex, a method that remains controversial among researchers from its difficult to measure risk analysis.

Most recently, Jonathan Van Ness used his celebrity platform as the breakout star from Queer Eye to not only reveal his HIV diagnosis, but to use the media interest and attention to explain “Undetectable equals Untransmittable” on national television.


Other remarkable moments from celebrities and public figures who announced they are living with HIV or AIDS include: Ongina from Rupauls Drag Race, Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis, Pedro Zamora from MTVs Real World San Francisco, Broadway actor Javier Munoz, Rapper ‪Mykki Blanco‬, and gay porn performer Dawson.

Watch the full video below.


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