Baby cured of HIV re energizes hope for a cure - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Baby cured of HIV re energizes hope for a cure

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

A local advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness says hope has soared to an all-time high for more than 32 million people worldwide living with the virus.

The inspiration comes as an American toddler made national headlines, reportedly cured of the deadly disease.

The Mississippi baby born with Human Immunodeficiency Virus was subsequently cured after doctors treated the little girl, now two years-old, with an aggressive drug regimen.

"It was always a death sentence. It was always you're going to die with AIDS but now I see a cure," Chattahoochee Valley Better Way Foundation founder Jeremy Hobbs says.

The medical miracle could change the way babies born with HIV are treated.  Reports state the Mississippi baby was treated within 31 hours of her birth.

Medical records show HIV can replicate itself at least a trillion times a day.  The theory is that the drugs prevented the virus from replicating and nesting in the body.

"It shows what we've been saying for years, if you start people on Medicines early you can stop the virus," says Hobbs.

Medical experts used a method called Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis better known as PREP. It is a preventative method of giving people that do not have HIV a daily pill to reduce their risk of becoming infected.

"What this medicine does, it can help reverse it. It will help the child achieve Viral Controller Status,"says Hobbs.

Hobbs explains there are 14 other people including adults that have achieved Viral Controller Status with the PREP method.

"This means the child will still have HIV in her system. People will still show signs of HIV but its not replicating. It's not creating a viral load anymore," says Hobbs.

"You said the baby still has HIV. Why are they using the word cured," News Reporter Brittany Dionne asks.

"It's a viral controller cure. What they mean when they say cured is the child doesn't have to take medicines anymore," says Hobbs. "It's possible the child cannot pass the virus on as they get into adulthood. With all the new technology and new medicine's coming out this child could possibly be cured within the next 10 years completely."

That thought alone, a possible cure within his lifetime has Hobbs, whose been living with HIV for a decade, as Hopeful as ever.

"I see a cure within the next 10 to 15 years for people living with AIDS; because we are making the advances. Through President Obama's plan for an AIDS free generation by 2015, scientists are rapidly working towards meeting that goal."

On the heels of this medical miracle, AIDS advocacy groups are in Atlanta protesting the high price of treatment medications.

Hobbs says his medication cost $2,000 per month.

He says for those still living with the virus healthcare equality is essential and the cost of medication needs to come down.

For more information about awareness events, support groups and the Chattahoochee Valley Better Way Foundation go here: http://www.betterwayfoundation.com/

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