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"I would've preferred to have kept it quiet because I'm not sick" โ€“ When Arthur Ashe spoke out on his AIDS diagnosis

Arthur Ashe said that he would
Arthur Ashe said that he would've preferred to keep quiet about his HIV diagnosis

Tennis legend Arthur Ashe spoke out about his AIDS diagnosis in an old interview, stating that he would've preferred to be quiet about it.

The three-time Grand Slam singles champion contracted the disease in 1988 from blood transfusions he received during heart surgery. He decided to keep his condition private and managed to do so for a few years before going public in 1992.

That year, he spoke to the Today Show regarding the same, stating that a number of people knew about his illness but decided to protect his privacy.

"I know there are lot of people that know, but they're keeping it quiet anyway and that's what I meant about this conspiracy of silence, I just assumed people were actively engaged just to protect my privacy and I appreciated it," Arthur Ashe said.

When asked whether a burden had been taken away from his shoulders after going public with his diagnosis, Ashe said that he would've preferred not to reveal it.

"My wife, I think, felt a greater burden and now feels much more relieved than I do about it. I would've preferred to have kept it quiet because I'm not sick, I'm not incapacitated, and I had some things I'd like to do without having to see the reaction on people's faces," the former Wimbledon champion said.

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"I say time is short in a relevant way" โ€“ Arthur Ashe

Talking about his mortality, Arthur Ashe said that time is short in the sense that he wouldn't be around in another decade, but could still be alive for another five years.

"My blood is tested often. Even now, my numbers are about the same as they were three years ago. So I can legitimately and clinically say to the whole world, 'Look I am not sick,' although yes, there is some evidence of the infection to warrant a clear diagnosis. I say time is short in a relevant way. I mean ten years from now, no I probably won't be here, but five years from now, maybe," Ashe said.

Unfortunately, Arthur Ashe died less than a year after this interview on February 6, 1993. He was only 49 years old.

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Edited by Virat Deswal
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