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The Viral Truth

Magic Johnson and Larry Bird Talk HIV/AIDS on Letterman
By Kellee Terrell
April 18, 2012

Last week on the Late Show with David Letterman, to promote the new Broadway play about their NBA rivalry, basketball greats Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Larry Bird discussed how their relationship morphed from on-the-court adversaries to best friends. They also discussed the day that Magic disclosed that he is HIV positive.

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An Open Letter to Zac Efron: "Get'cha Head in the Game" and Be a Safer Sex Advocate
By Becky Allen
March 27, 2012

So here's the thing: I might have a very slight, teeny tiny, not at all age-inappropriate fondness for the High School Musical (HSM) franchise. And by "might" I mean "definitely" and by "teeny tiny" I mean "Yes, that picture is of my workspace here at, and yes, that is a High School Musical 2 poster hanging above my monitor." I choose to think of this as one of my adorable quirks. I suspect my coworkers might describe it differently, but they can keep their opinions to themselves, thankyouverymuch.

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Say What? HIV-Positive Wall Street Protester Tells Cop Who Punched Him to Get Tested
By Warren Tong
October 24, 2011

According to the Gothamist article "HIV Positive Protester Says Cop Who Punched Him Should Get Tested," last Friday, an Occupy Wall Street protester was punched in the face by a New York City police officer. The protester, Felix Rivera-Pitre, who is openly gay and HIV positive, told Gothamist, "The cop just lunged at me full throttle and hit me on the left side of my face. It tore my earring out. I remember seeing my earring on the ground next to me and it was full of blood. I was completely dumbstruck. I'm HIV positive and that cop should get tested."

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amfAR Is "Making AIDS History" With New PSA Campaign Featuring People Living With HIV/AIDS
By Kellee Terrell
October 14, 2011

When most of us think of HIV research, we envision laboratories filled with researchers dressed in white lab coats, mixing concoctions in beakers and viewing specimens through a microscope. It's very rare, when we talk about HIV research, that the people actually living with HIV come to mind. But "Making AIDS History," a new public service announcement (PSA) campaign created by the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), is trying to change that. amfAR is an organization dedicated to funding HIV research and finding a cure.

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AIDS @ 30: Media Coverage From the Early Days
By Kellee Terrell
June 10, 2011

This past Sunday, June 5, 2011, news outlets from all across the world commemorated the 30th anniversary of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. From national news sites, such as and, to high profile newspapers, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, to local newspapers and news stations, there was an influx of reporting on how the epidemic has affected all of our lives over the past three decades.

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The New York Post Is at It Again; This Time It Outs Alleged Victim's HIV Status

May 20, 2011

As a New Yorker for the past nine years, I have grown accustomed to the ridiculousness called the New York Post. I no longer shudder when the newspaper refers to criminals of color as "thugs," transgender people as "trannies," or exotic dancers as "strippers." I have accepted the fact that journalistic integrity and this Rupert Murdoch-owned publication don't go hand in hand. (Just think Fox News in print.) But Wednesday morning, the New York Post published "IMF accuser in apt. for HIV vic," a story so scathing and stigmatizing that it actually shocked me.

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Why Our Youth Desperately Need Condoms
By Kellee Terrell
May 16, 2011

A few weeks ago, all media hell broke loose when the national news got wind of a Philadelphia, Pa.-based safer-sex campaign that is offering free condoms to teens and tweens as young as 11 years old. While some media outlets did a decent job of reporting on the health initiative fairly, others chose to anchor their stories in the belief that these types of campaigns are morally problematic and encourage teen sex. But regardless of whether the coverage is fair or biased, most articles ran with sensationalized headlines that focused on the "11-year-old" angle.

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PrEP Ineffective for Women? Study on Truvada for HIV Prevention Is Unexpectedly Cut Short
By Myles Helfand
April 18, 2011

A clinical trial investigating the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection among women has been canceled after early results suggested the approach would be ineffective, according to a statement issued by FHI, which implemented the study.

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HIV-Positive Prisoner Betsie Gallardo Passes Away
By Kellee Terrell
February 1, 2011

Last month, reported on Betsie Gallardo, an HIV-positive Florida inmate who was dying from stage IV gallbladder cancer and being denied food and liquids from prison officials. I'm saddened to report that Gallardo passed away Jan. 31 in her mother's Indiana home. She was only 27 years old.

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