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Beyond the Bad News: Highlights of 2011

By Aless Piper

December 15, 2011

As an action-packed year for the HIV/AIDS community draws to a close, TheBody.com takes stock of 2011 in a new series of articles, "2011 HIV/AIDS Year in Review." Read the entire series here.

Aless Piper

Aless Piper

Sometimes I feel like the bearer of bad news. It's not a job I chose, but it is one I do well -- maybe the disproportionate amount of bad news that flows into my inbox daily has something to do with it. But I do delight in sharing the good news -- even if it doesn't come as easily. So here is my list of some of the good, and downright awesome, highlights this year.

  1. I met Olivia and the folks at TheBody.com. This is definitely one of my top five favorite things that happened this summer -- right after turning 25 in New York City. Sadly I still cannot adequately express how amazing my last trip to New York was, but maybe by my next trip I will have found at least a few words to sum it up.
  2. Larry Kramer was in the news a lot this year. From his amazing article in response to Anderson Cooper's AIDS special, to his interview with the guy at Salon to The Normal Heart being on Broadway, for major Kramer fans like myself it was a pretty awesome year. In fact, I heard he was spotted outside The Normal Heart handing out this gem ... sadly, he was not spotted by me. By the time I made it to New York, The Normal Heart had closed. However, I do remain very optimistic our paths will cross one day.
  3. This may or may not be new, but I found out this year that The Normal Heart will be a movie in 2014. Isn't that exciting? In fact there are a few movie gems out or due out soon including How to Survive a Plague, which sounds pretty amazing, and rumors have been floating around Facebook about Act Up! The Movie.
  4. October 26, 2011, was my one-year anniversary blogging for TheBody.com!
  5. All LGBT and most AIDS activists have known this since time immemorial, but hearing Hilary Clinton say it was still phenomenal. "Gay rights are human rights." If you missed the speech check out the transcript and video at The Advocate.
  6. Obama pledging more support for HIV treatment on World AIDS Day. OK, so it's not perfect, but I bet you will never hear Prime Minister Harper do the same. "We can beat this disease." Yes, yes we can.
  7. Immigration Equality has won asylum for nearly 100 clients so far this year, and one-third of those people are HIV positive. Awesome? I think so! Immigration Equality is doing some great work -- check them out on Facebook.
  8. Did you see The Killers' (Red) Christmas album on iTunes? It makes me smile. Even better, $1.29 from the sale of individual tracks and $5.99 from the sale of the album will be donated to the Global Fund. It's an awesome album and a great cause.
  9. Alvaro Orozco won his fight to stay in Canada. It is an amazing victory, and I am so glad to have been a part of it -- albeit a small one.
  10. Team Flaming Red raised over $500 CAN in the AIDS Walk for the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia, thanks in no small part to the amazing people I work with, among others. Thank you so much to everyone who donated. I can't wait for next year.

In addition, this year I "came out" as an AIDS activist at work, and everyone, especially the amazing and wonderful pharmacists I work with have been very supportive. I am so blessed.

Not much has changed since I wrote "The Guilt Myth". My friend is still going through a tough time, I am still pissed off, although my Christian friend, while still a Christian, is no longer my friend. It was not intentional, but we can talk more about that in 2012. What is awesome is the overwhelming amount of support, and the offers of prayers that poured in when it went live. Thank you all so much.

Finally, please don't forget about your local ASO this holiday season. Chronically underfunded, your ASO cannot continue its much needed work without the support of people like you and, truly, every little bit helps.

My New Year's resolution for 2012 is to make a difference in the fight against AIDS. Together, I know we can succeed.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Aless Piper is a 20-something office assistant by day, world-changer by night. She lives in Canada.

Send Aless an e-mail.

Read more of Flaming Red, Aless' blog, at TheBody.com.




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