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Former NBA star Magic Johnson is bringing his fight against HIV and AIDS to the Magic City.
On Monday, the hall-of-famer was in Miami to announce that his Magic Johnson Enterprises has teamed up with Clear Health Alliance and the University of Miami to provide a new health plan for people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
"When you're dealing with people with HIV, they want somebody to listen to them," Johnson said. It's important that we listen to them and what's going on in their lives."
Clear Health Alliance, an HIV/AIDS Medicaid Health Plan provided by Simply Healthcare, offers a variety of services for individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS including Medicaid benefits and a team of professionals.
The plan provides members with transportation, over-the-counter medications, eyeglasses and vision care, dental care, home delivered meals and nutritional counseling. Support groups are available as well.
So far 350 people have enrolled in Miami-Dade, "the epicenter of new cases HIV in the country," said Mike Fernandez chairman of Simply Health Care Plans.
The goal is to expand to Broward and build two medical centers specializing in HIV care and two centers in Miami-Dade.
In addition to being an investor, Johnson will provide guidance from the patient's perspective. He has been living with HIV for 20 years after he was diagnosed in 1991.
"For myself everything has been good," Johnson said. "Yes, I've taken my meds. Yes, I have a positive attitude."
Johnson added that's he's looking forward to talking to local HIV/AIDS patients "because a lot of them just want to hear my story."
He will be featured in ads and billboards for the new health plan.