Stepping out on the Big Four Bridge yesterday afternoon.
As my daughter and I strolled across the walking bridge I had a moment to reflect on our remarkable journey. I say remarkable not because of our circumstance.There's nothing noteworthy or remotely remarkable about being HIV positive; what would be remarkable, though, is to live to see the end of HIV. I dream of a world cured of AIDS and there are doctors and researchers believing for the same, but there is work to do.
As the media buzz over the Mississippi baby functionally cured of HIV settles, we are left with more questions than perhaps answers. One of the biggest, "Can we replicate these same results in others?"
The short answer is, yes, of course we can. We now know that HIV can be stopped (in some individuals) when caught early enough. This holds true for early HIV exposures treated prophylactically, as well as babies born to mother's infected with the disease. So, what does all this mean? It's a giant step toward one day ending AIDS.
Already, with just the medicines we now have available, we could end mother to infant transmission for good. Anti-virals are an amazing class of drugs that drive the virus to levels that are so low that passing the virus, even in vitro becomes highly unlikely. Unfortunately, the majority of women who pass the virus onto their babies are unaware that they are carriers until it's too late. Testing and treating are key. As a mother, and a proud Ambassador for The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Foundation I encourage you to get involved. AIDS isn't over yet. We still have a long road ahead, but we will get there.