April 20, 2014
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NOVEMBER  18, 2013 ARCHIVED STORIES:

JACKSON, Miss. (BP) -- The continued good health of a Mississippi baby born with HIV causes Hannah Gay, the HIV specialist who treats the child, to speak of divine intervention.

The baby remains in remission more than 18 months after her last anti-viral treatment. "Hopefully we'll be able to find out what it was about this case that was different from all the others that we've ever seen and be able to replicate that for other babies in the future."

The 3-year-old's continued lack of any replication of the virus indicates the first documented case of HIV remission in a child, The New England Journal of Medicine reported Oct. 23, fostering renewed hope that the child is permanently cured.

"The big question, of course is, 'Is this child cured of HIV infection?'" the Journal article stated. "The best answer at this moment is a definitive 'maybe.'"

Gay, an associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, was first credited in March with achieving a "functional" cure of the child, indicating the viral presence remained in the child but was no longer replicating. The viral presence was so low it could only have been detected by ultrasensitive methods, but not the standard clinical tests.

Gay treated the child, born to a mother who received no prenatal care, with an unprecedented, aggressive regimen of three anti-viral medications within 30 hours of birth three years ago. The mother discontinued treatment of the baby after 18 months, but when she returned the baby for treatment at 23 months tests revealed that the virus had not been replicating.

Gay has been in the spotlight for months because of the achievement. She presented a case study of the baby on Nov. 5 to the prestigious Oxford Union in England, a forum for debate and discussion at Oxford University which has hosted an array of notables, including world leaders, since 1823.

The case gives Gay opportunities to share in general terms her faith in God, she told Baptist Press, and is further maturing her as a Christian.

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