Celebrity

Madonna gives perfect answer to rumours she had HIV in throwback video

Lily Wakefield February 9, 2022
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In 1992 Madonna gave an interview on rumours she was living with HIV

In 1992 Madonna gave an interview on rumours she was living with HIV. (Twitter)

A throwback 1992 interview with Madonna has shown how the LGBT+ icon gracefully responded to rumours that she had HIV, declaring it would be “nothing to be ashamed of”.

In the interview, Madonna is questioned by Jonathan Ross on rumours that had been making the rounds that she was HIV-positive, at a time before treatment was effective.

Ross asked her: “If you were to find yourself HIV-positive, how would you deal with it?”

Madonna said: “I would certainly say that I was, I can’t go to the bathroom without everybody knowing about it.

“Plus, I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed about, and that’s one of the problems with AIDS. People are made to feel that they’re leppers and that they have to go and hide in a cave somewhere.

“I think that the most important thing that I could do [would be] to make an announcement and say that I was HIV-positive. The next thing would be to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.”

The year of the interview, 1992, was the same year that AIDS-related complications became the leading cause of death for men aged 25 to 44 in the US. It would be another three years until the first antiretroviral drug would become available, and two decades until pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was approved by the FDA.

Madonna has always advocated for people living with HIV

Throughout her career, Madonna has been an advocate for those living with HIV, and worked hard to raise awareness during the AIDS crisis.

In 1989, Madonna attended a charity dance marathon in Los Angeles to raise money for people who were HIV-positive, and in the same year released the album Like a Prayer, which included a leaflet called “The Facts about AIDS”.

In 2019, speaking at the GLAAD awards, she recalled the time in an emotional speech.

She described smuggling experimental drugs across the border from Mexico to help her friends with HIV, and going to hospitals to hug every single AIDS patient.

She said: “I came home smelling like shit and vomit and death and defiance. I came home smelling like gratitude.”

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