Baby Cure Commotion
Ah, yes. How could we not mention the miracle baby?
Here's the thing: The revelation this past March that an HIV-positive baby apparently had the virus eradicated from its body thanks to aggressive, early treatment is without doubt a big deal. It's an important medical and symbolic milestone in our tireless hunt for a cure.
But the implications for an HIV cure are only part of the story here -- and they're certainly not the most important takeaway from the standpoint of our everyday fight against HIV. Of much more immediate relevance to us is the idea that more aggressive treatment of babies born to HIV-positive women may further reduce the risk of transmission (a risk that is already very low, provided the mom-to-be gets full access to effective treatment and HIV care prior to giving birth).
Also of potentially greater importance are some of the difficult, disturbing questions that this case raises, such as: What flaws exist in our health care system that lead to a woman not being diagnosed with HIV until she's in labor? How does that woman -- and her HIV-positive baby -- end up being completely lost to care not long after the baby is born? How can we do better by the people most in need of good health care in this country?
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