Abstract In this article we summarize several recent major developments in human immunodeficiency virus treatment, prevention, outcome, and social policy change. Updated international guidelines endorse more aggressive treatment strategies and safer antiretroviral drugs. New antiretroviral options are being tested. Important lessons were learned in the areas of human immunodeficiency virus vaccines and microbicide gels from clinical studies, and additional trials in prevention, especially pre-exposure prophylaxis, are nearing completion. Insight into the role of the virus in the pathogenesis of diseases traditionally thought to be unrelated to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome has become a driving force for earlier and universal therapy. Lastly, we review important achievements of and future challenges facing China as she steps into her eighth year of the National Free Antiretroviral Treatment Program.