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2012 in Review: What We've Learned About HIV/AIDS

December 27, 2012

We can't go into 2013 without taking a fond look back at what 2012 brought us in the world of HIV/AIDS: research breakthroughs, controversies, inspiring personal stories and thought-provoking opinions. As we clean out 2012's clutter and make way for the celebrations and challenges of a new year, now's the best time to look back at the lessons we learned in 2012, before we're doomed to repeat them in 2013.

The Man Who Once Had HIV

Timothy BrownThis Positive Life: Life After Being Cured of HIV (Video)

Timothy Brown, the first person in the world to be cured of HIV, is soft-spoken and kind -- but unswerving in his dedication to finding a way to cure everyone. Watch Timothy open up about the joys and frustrations of being the famed "Berlin Patient."

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The Road to a Cure

gloved handHIV Cure: Have You Grown More Hopeful?

"Cure" is no longer a four-letter word in the HIV community. But funding for vital research is still lacking, and a cure can seem unrealistic amidst the day-to-day realities of living with HIV. We asked a number of advocates whether the passage of time had fanned the flames of their hope for a cure, or cooled it down.

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Gay Men & Safer Sex

cowboy bareback riding in rodeoBarebacking, Unbridled: Thoughts From the HIV Community on Unprotected Sex

No matter what your position on barebacking is, chances are excellent that one of's interviewees, bloggers or content partners has touched upon it. Check out this sampling of perspectives on gay men and sexual risk that have been shared on our site, and add your own opinion to the debate!

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Aging & HIV: An Expanding Epidemic

Sean Cahill, James Masten, Frances Melendez and Kellee TerrellHIV/AIDS and the Aging Population: What's Going On?

Three experts on issues related to aging and HIV provide an in-depth overview of the stigma, health problems and quality-of-life concerns faced by HIV-positive people who are age 50 and older.

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HIV Among African Americans

handsWhat Really Fuels the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Black America?

For the past 15 years, we have been bombarded with images and media attention blaming the "down-low brotha" -- the closeted gay man who sleeps with both men and women -- for the AIDS epidemic in black America. But these HIV/AIDS advocates from across the U.S. know what's really to blame.

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Women & HIV

paper women dolls in circleWhen Will Male HIV/AIDS Leaders Make Women and Girls a Priority?

"We are drowning in a culture that seriously devalues women, and unfortunately, the HIV/AIDS movement is part of that same culture," Kellee Terrell writes. "I challenge male leaders to stop with the sappy pseudo-empowering rhetoric about how women and girls can overcome this epidemic and how our voices really do matter."

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HIV Research

David Wohl, M.D.Top 10 HIV Clinical Developments of 2012

Join us for a stroll back through 10 of the year's research breakthroughs that are most likely to change the way we prevent and treat HIV. The incomparable David Alain Wohl, M.D., recaps 2012's top HIV-related clinical highlights and explains why each is such a big deal.

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HIV Criminalization

Fight AIDS posterThere Is No "There" There: The False Framing of HIV Criminalization Laws

"No chronic disease strikes fear into the hearts of people quite like HIV/AIDS does," Housing Works' Sunny Bjerk writes. "That fear of rejection, fear of being hurt, and fear of being persecuted for having a virus is truly what is criminal."

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Our Community

collage of letter writersThe "Write a Letter to HIV" Campaign

"If you're infected or affected by HIV, I'm asking that you write a letter and then videotape yourself reading the letter aloud. It helps sometimes to get your feelings out," blogger Justin B. Terry-Smith wrote. Dozens of people answered his call, resulting in one of the Web's most moving, spontaneous collections of personal perspectives on HIV.

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Stigma & Rage: Remembering Cicely Bolden

Mathew RodriguezMathew Rodriguez: Trigger Warning -- Understanding Cicely Bolden

"I can't imagine what it is like to be faced with my own mortality in the midst of a sexual connection with someone else. But I can imagine what it is like to want to be loved, and to seek validation and comfort in another person. I can imagine Cicely's fear of revelation, her hope for love and her courage to tell."

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One Med at a Time

Khafre AbifA Day in the Life: Khafre Abif on Sticking to Meds and Self-Care (Video)

Despite his work, raising a young son and life's many twists and turns, Khafre Abif has stayed mindful of sticking to his HIV meds. "I cannot be a successful father, activist, writer or advocate if I'm not taking care of myself first," he says.

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HIV Prevention in a Pill

Truvada pill on a tabletopMixed Reaction Greets FDA Panel Recommendation to Approve Truvada for HIV Prevention

When an expert advisory panel recommended that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approve Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, its recommendation wasn't universal. The HIV/AIDS community remains deeply divided over the issue.

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HIV Around the World

infographicThe Local and the Global: How HIV/AIDS Affects Us All (Infographic)

How can we explain to people outside the HIV/AIDS community just how urgent -- and how massive -- the HIV/AIDS pandemic still is? Try's new infographic on for size, and make sure to share it on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and elsewhere!

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HIV Testing

collage of community membersTaking the Test: What's Your Experience?

To commemorate U.S. National HIV Testing Day on June 27, community members talked about their HIV testing experiences. Their stories are funny, heartbreaking, frustrating, empowering and everything in between.

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