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Medical Miracle in Mississippi

By Stephfon Guidry

hivMedical Breakthrough! Dynamic drug results! These are some of the many headlines being spouted by many a media as doctors worldwide scramble to explain, understand and replicate the findings of the “Miracle in Mississippi”. The medical miracle being the 2 ½ year old girl that Dr. Hannah Gay, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of MI, and Dr. Deborah Persaud, a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins Children Center are deeming “functionally cured” of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)—making her the 2nd global case ever.  In 2010, the young mother and premature baby were found to be HIV positive. After a battery of tests, including multiple blood draws, DNA testing, the child’s viral load results were among 20,000; which was relatively low for an infant born with the virus. She underwent an aggressive treatment of the HIV/AIDS cocktail AZT and within 29 days her blood work shown that a status of “Undetectable”. For further information on the specific treatment received for the young Mississippi girl check out this interview from CNN.com

The medical world is using the term “functionally cured” rather than a “cure for HIV” for two reasons. Reason one, doctors are attempting to test the validity of the findings of this treatment to be used in new cases and want to replicate these findings. Reason two, for people living with HIV and are “undetectable” there are still hidden viral reservoirs which need treatment therefore usual patients maintain lifelong treatment. As reported by the Center for Disease Control the most recent number of HIV+ cases is approximately 1.4 million in North America while 23.5 million in the Sub-Sahara, therefore the fight against HIV/AIDS is still at the forefront of all our minds. Get Tested, Get Treated, and end the stigma!

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