December 18, 2012
The second of a two-part series about the stories to keep your eyes on during 2012. To read the first five stories covered in part 1, click here.
6. The Black Community Mobilizes
What we told you: Black organizations would conduct more grassroots organizing to end the epidemic.
What really happened: Organizations such as the Black Treatment Advocates Network and National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition engaged communities to fight the epidemic. New York City's Iris House developed a smartphone app to target heterosexual brothas.
What we learned: Bravo. "Awareness" campaigns are great -- but more action is needed.
7. PrEP Pilot Studies
What we told you: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was a groundbreaking new biomedical prevention strategy.
What really happened: Truvada became the "first medication ever to be approved" to reduce the risk of HIV infection in uninfected individuals. Meanwhile, several PrEP pilot studies were launched nationwide and in select markets, with an emphasis on enrolling MSM of color.
What we learned: Fighting for inclusive clinical trials is of great value -- and more Blacks need to participate in them.
8. The HIV/AIDS Budget Crunch
What we told you: New infections were rising, and HIV/AIDS programs remained underfunded.
What really happened: The Obama administration surprised everyone at the opening of AIDS 2012 by announcing nearly $80 million in grants "to increase access to HIV/AIDS care." The investment "will eliminate any [AIDS Drug Assistance Program] waiting lists."
What we learned: The squeaky wheel gets the grease -- but we still need sustainable funding streams, especially at the state level.
9. Court Challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
What we told you: Conservative-led legal challenges were mounting against the ACA.
What really happened: In a 5-to-4 decision that shocked conservatives, the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate, with Chief Justice John Roberts casting the deciding vote. "Thousands more people now have health care -- including many people who are HIV positive," says C. Virginia Fields, president and CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. "Insurers must offer essential health benefits, which include free HIV testing, early treatment and continuous care."
What we learned: Who would have thought that Roberts would become a major ally of the movement?
10. Criminalization of HIV/AIDS
What we told you: Thirty-four states and two territories criminalized exposure and/or transmission of HIV.
What really happened: New research presented at AIDS 2012 showed that Black men have been disproportionately singled out for prosecution. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) introduced the landmark "REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act." But so far, there's been no progress in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives.
What we learned: HIV/AIDS advocates may want to consider a state-by-state repeal strategy.
Rod McCullom has written and produced for ABC News and NBC, and his reporting and analysis have appeared in Ebony, The Advocate, ColorLines, The Body and other media. McCollum blogs on politics, pop culture and Black gay news at rod20.com.