Are you ready for the biggest news of 2013? A baby born with HIV has been cured of the virus. CURED. As in the little girl will not die from AIDS. As in miracles do exist!
The news is sweeping the medical and parenting worlds both today as doctors from Johns Hopkins in Maryland do the happy dance (or the official researchers version of it anyway). Considering this is only the second official person to ever be "cured" of HIV -- an adult in Germany was the first -- it's big news for mankind. But what about parents? What does this say for us?
I think it says a lot about the relationship between parents and their kids' doctors.
We've come to a point in America where there's a growing backlash against the medical community. Parents are turning to Doctor Google instead of their pediatricians. Parents are turning up their noses at the American Academy of Pediatrics and its guidelines for vaccinating their kids.
And a part of me understands it: a baby is born, and as a parent, we see perfection. The medical community sees a little person they must stick with needles to prevent diseases; they see eyes that must be gooped up with ointments.
It's not easy being a new mother and suddenly having to listen to doctors say, "Well, actually your kid isn't THAT perfect after all." And that's if you have a HEALTHY baby! I can't imagine what it's like for parents of kids born with heart conditions, who are whisked into surgery just hours after birth, or parents of a baby born with HIV.
Doctors in Mississippi decided to start intensive treatment on this little girl just 31 hours after she was born. She didn't get two days on Earth before they were pumping her full of toxins!
And yet, fast forward 2 1/2 years, and the doctors at Johns Hopkins are using the cure word for her HIV. They say it's the early treatment that made all the difference.
To put this in perspective: about 90 percent of kids with HIV were infected by their own moms, usually during pregnancy. Worldwide, about 50 percent of infants infected with HIV from their mothers die before their second birthday.
That's the sad news.
The good news is here in America, the rates are much lower. Fewer than 2 in 100 babies of moms with HIV are born with the virus. We're fortunate here in America to have developed interventions that protect babies. And when babies are born with the virus, we have help for that too, help that we now know can do even better things than we previously imagined.
Maybe this miracle has come now for a reason: because parents and the medical community both need a reminder that we're all in this with the same goal in mind; we all want our kids to have a healthy tomorrow.
Do you struggle with your child's doctor's advice?
Image via Jayel Aheram/Flickr