Researchers Announce HIV-Positive Toddler Now "Functionally Cured"
On Sunday, researchers announced that an infant born with HIV is now a "functionally cured", healthy two-year old with only trace amounts of the virus in her system. Doctors involved in her treatment made the announcement in advance of the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections today. The medical definition of "functionally cured" is when a virus is present in the body in such a small concentration, medical intervention is not necessary.
The girl's mother discovered she was HIV positive when she went into labor and was admitted into a local hospital. Doctors tested the infant shortly after birth and concluded that the child had contracted the virus in utero. The child was transferred to the University of Mississippi Medical Center where medical staff decided to treat the baby with a trio antiretroviral drugs 30 hours after being born.
Dr. Hannah Gay, who originally treated the child, told reporters "We are hoping that future studies will show that very early institution of effective therapy will result in this same outcome consistently."
"For pediatrics, this is our Timothy Brown," said Dr. Deborah Persaud, a lead author of the formal report on the girl. Timothy Brown was an HIV-positive man at the turn of the century; when he received a bone transplant for leukemia in 2007 from a person who was HIV-resistant, he became HIV-negative. Brown is still alive and is still considered functionally cured.
Media Resources: CNN 03/4/2013; Los Angeles Times, 03/3/2013; The New York Times 03/3/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .