A two-year-old girl in Mississippi is the first to be “cured” of HIV after being administered an aggressive treatment by Dr. Hannah Gay, Christian and former missionary, and her colleagues at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. As reported by CNN, the mother of the girl received no prenatal care, and doctors discovered the child was HIV-positive just before she was born. “We didn’t have the opportunity to treat the mom during the pregnancy as we would like to be able do to prevent transmission to the baby,” Gay told CNN.
As a result, Gay and her team administered a heavy dose of antiretroviral drugs to the infant within 30 hours of her birth, and treatment continued for the first 15 months of the child’s life. As a result, two years later doctors can detect none of the virus in her blood.
According to Gay, the intervention’s timing may have meant more than the particular number or type of drugs used. “We are hoping that future studies will show that very early institution of effective therapy will result in this same outcome consistently,” she said.
“We don’t know yet exactly what we found and it will take a long time of studying seeing if we can replicate this outcome in other babies before we can say, ‘yes we’ve got a definite cure.’ Until that point, all children, and adults for that matter, who are on good therapy and are controlling their therapy need to stay on that therapy,” Gay said.
The Christian Post reported that Dr. Gay worked in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as a missionary with her husband in the 1980s. She currently teaches elementary school students the Bible in a class on Wednesday nights at her church. Her family members call her very private and “doesn’t like to be in the spotlight.”