YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

HIV & SPORTS: What Have We Learned?

AIDS Facts

November 03, 1996

Growth of AIDS in the U.S.


Cases Year Deaths Diagnosed 1981 128 323 1982 460 1,191 1983 1,501 3,125 1984 3,497 6,290 1985 6,961 11,916 1986 12,056 19,131 1987 16,336 28,881 1988 21,040 35,776 1989 27,691 42,801 1990 31,402 48,357 1991 36,307 58,991 1992 40,516 76,898 1993 45,992 75,534 1994 46,050 64,026 1995 32,505 40,051


Total AIDS deaths reported through June, 1996: 343,000

Total cases diagnosed through June, 1996: 548,102

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention HIV/AIDS, 1995

Sports figures stricken by AIDS or HIV:

Paul Banke

Magic Johnson

Greg Louganis

Tommy Morrison

Ruben Palacio

Jerry Smith

Thomas Waddell

Ondrej Nepela

Esteban DeJesus

Tim Richmond

Alan Wiggins

Arthur Ashe

John Curry

Steve Burdett

Glenn Burke

Bill Goldsworthy

League Policies

None of the four major professional sports leagues bans players who test HIV positive or have AIDS and none conducts mandatory AIDS testing. All have adopted infection control procedures to deal with athletes who bleed from injuries suffered in games or practices. Some highlights of policies:


Players with open wounds must immediately leave the game. If there is blood on a player's uniform, it must be changed.


Players and their families may obtain confidential help for substance abuse and other problems through a toll-free number. Counselors are available in each NHL city. Medical staff meet with each team at least once each season and provide educational material.


The decision to continue participation in the NFL is a personal medical decision involving the HIV-infected player and his physician. Counseling is recommended if a player is infected, but it is not mandatory.


Teams generally hold AIDS seminars for players in the spring, conducted by team doctors and trainers. Each club sends three prospects to a rookie development camp in January and AIDS awareness is one of the topics discussed. AIDS awareness is also discussed with players in the Arizona Fall League.


In Nevada, boxers must present original or certified laboratory test results performed within the last 30 days reflecting that the applicant is negative for the presence of the HIV virus. In California, a similar policy will be implemented July 1, 1997.

Los Angeles Times Articles