Hope for Reducing Stigma
Herblock captured the dismay and surprise that many young male admirers of basketball star Magic Johnson expressed the day the news broke that he had been diagnosed with HIV, the virus causing AIDS. The Washington Post front page story stressed hope that Johnson’s case would help motivate the public to face and learn more about the epidemic, paving the way toward ending the stigma of the disease. The young men’s response in the cartoon reflects the perception then common that Johnson’s diagnosis meant certain death. Johnson’s successful treatment belied these fears.