COOKIE-NEW-Cj-HeadshotThe fight was on. She became a spokesperson for the National Medical Immunization Public Service Announcement and was an honorary chairperson for the Children’s Defense Fund. By regularly speaking with women’s groups, high school students and at various events, Johnson drills a solid message. She continuously makes sure the message is loud so that the current generation of youth, who see Magic looking healthy and fit, will not have any misconceptions or become complacent in thinking they will not die.

“I tell people to go and educate themselves on how you come in contact with it. There are so many ways to contract the virus and people need to take a moment to sit down and read about it,” says Johnson. “I also tell folks to get tested annually. Make it a part of your physical exam. I think if people thought of it in that way: including it in your annual physical: then maybe the stigma will fall off.”

She consistently preaches this message, while also talking about the importance of eating healthier, educating yourself about various medicines, vitamins and herbs to help build the immune system for someone who is living with the virus. In case there was any question if she was all talk, Johnson assures that she practices what she preaches.

“Of course we practice safe sex. We have to. Eating healthier; we started that right away. Now we’re on a super healthy kick. For me I cut out diary. I’ll do a little sugar every now and then. I also exercise,” says Johnson.

She is also quick to shoot down rumors that her husband used his money and influence to buy a super drug or cure for himself. “That is just so ridiculous,” says Johnson. She asserts that her husband’s good health has been attributed to his early diagnoses, his consistency with taking his medication and a healthy diet.

“He has never been sick from the disease. In the beginning he was sick, but that was because he was on a cocktail of meds,” says Johnson.

While she has seen progress in terms of research and the fact that people are talking about it more, she is aware that a lot of work is still needed, especially for African American communities.

“When you think about the African American community, historically our focal point is the church. Church is the one place where everyone goes when they have a problem. With this disease you can’t go to church, because there is still a stigma there,” says Johnson. “People have to start talking to their children and don’t treat family members living with it like a leper. Embrace them, because the more a person internalizes what they are going through, the sicker they will be.”

Her work in advocating for children formed out of her passion and care as a mother. Again, she spreads the message about self educating when it comes to your child’s medical needs and the importance of providing affordable access to parents who need to have their children immunized.