It’s not every day that news headlines inspire me or bring a smile to my face, but yesterday was the exception to the rule. In case you missed it, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center announced that a toddler in Mississippi was “functionally cured” of HIV, creating medical history and offering hope that progress is being made to end the global AIDS epidemic.
The baby girl was born to a mother who did not receive prenatal care and discovered at delivery that she was HIV positive. The most common way children become infected with HIV is mother-to-child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Often antiretroviral drugs can prevent transmission. In this case doctors intervened after delivery to administer high doses of the drugs. Two years later, tests indicate the toddler is not carrying the virus.
This story is especially exciting to me because at
We work with (RED), The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and
Malaria, Africare and other organizations to provide access to critical antiretroviral
medicines -- like those used in the Mississippi case -- and education about the
virus and how it is transmitted. We also have unique health benefits and HIV/AIDS
workplace programs for our 65,000
It’s still uncertain if this “cure” can be replicated with other
children - and even if it can – it is sobering to see the statistics on the
numbers of infected people around the world who lack access to
antiretrovirals. Even with a full understanding of the challenges, I am
overjoyed to learn of this medical breakthrough.
This one child represents the potential of so many more healthy children. Wouldn’t it be great if future generations only learned about AIDS through history books? As our friends at (RED) say, let’s work together to “start the end of AIDS now.”
Another Coke employee shared her story of inspiration through (RED) here: (Coca-Cola)RED: Inspi(RED) by Initiative to End AIDS
April Jordin is Director of Corporate External Affairs at The
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