Reports of HIV “Cure” May be Premature

Reports are circulating of a toddler born with HIV who no longer shows signs the disease.  Some are referring to the news with words like “cure,” but others are more cautious.  In an article published in the Tulsa World, HIV care providers expressed a mixed bag of hope and caution:

“We are so ready for a cure,” said Sharon Thoele, executive director of Tulsa Cares, a center for AIDS resources, education and support. “This is not a cure, but from what I’ve read so far, it’s a good step forward. But, we are cautiously optimistic.”

Thoele said the involvement of Dr. Anthony Fauci in the Mississippi case adds weight to the medical outcomes.

“He’s been with the movement from the beginning, so he brings credibility,” she said.

Kathy Williams, executive director of Tulsa’s HOPE (Health Outreach Prevention Education) services, also had a circumspect reaction.

“Obviously, it would be wonderful if that’s the case,” Williams said. “But, we always wait a little on news like this. It looks very promising, though.”

People living with HIV/AIDS have heard reports of a cure in the past; some have even reported that former basketball player Magic Johnson is “cured” despite reports to the contrary.  In one instance a man living with HIV successfully eradicated the disease following a bone marrow transplant from a person with a rare genetic condition that fought the disease.  However, that incident is certainly the exception and not the rule.

As the Tulsa World report indicates, HIV/AIDS continues to infect Oklahomans, and particularly younger people.

In Oklahoma, 3,094 people are living with the HIV virus and 5,585 people have AIDS, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

In addition, 35 children younger than 13 have the HIV virus and 40 children have been diagnosed with AIDS.

“Our most vulnerable population is among 13- to 29-year-olds,” Williams said. “One person every 9 1/2 minutes gets infected with the HIV virus in the U.S.”

When adding up the number of HIV-infected Oklahomans in those younger ages, it outpaces the older groups.

Despite advances in treatment and increasing longevity and lower mortality rates, HIV/AIDS remains a stigmatizing illness burdened with stereotypes and fear that often times lead to discriminatory treatment in everything from employment to housing opportunities.

If you have questions about HIV/AIDS discrimination, contact the attorneys at Bryan & Terrill Law. We’ve specialized in lawsuits involving failure to diagnose HIV for more than 17 years.