by Alyssa Spirato
It's potentially a major breakthrough in the fight against HIV.
A two-year-old Mississippi girl has been cured of the virus that causes AIDS.
A group of researchers made the announcement Sunday. The girl was treated at this children's hospital in Jackson, Mississippi.
Doctors say early intervention in this case within 30 hours of birth with three anti-viral drugs was the important factor.
She's been "functionally cured." That's when the virus' presence is so small that the patient won't need lifelong treatment.
That news is providing hope for patients right here in the Tennessee Valley.
Kimberly Boling is a mom and a HIV patient. She's lived with the virus for the past 24 years.
"If you don't understand the HIV or the AIDS, then you're not getting the right information. Being put on meds, that's just to save your life. Otherwise, you're taking your life in your own hands," says Boling.
Bolling was diagnosed with HIV in 1998 after the birth of her fourth daughter. After living with the virus for over 2 decades, she's learned how to cope. And the news of the Mississippi toddler's possible cure keeps her pushing forward.
"That's the only hope we have. Too many people say theres no cure. There's even doctors that say there's no cures. But never give up hope. There's always hope," says Boling.
Hope is what keeps Jerry Evans with Chattanooga Cares thriving.
"Anything we can advance with HIV care and treatment is wonderful. We are excited about it," says Evans.
Dr. Jay Sizemore sees Chattanooga Care's 500 plus patients per year. He says news of the breakthrough will resonate on doctors searching for a cure.
"In exposures like this, I think treating physicians would be more confident in going ahead and prescribing what we consider standartive care therapy, the same medications any child or adult who is newly diagnosed with HIV could get," says Sizemore.
But patients like Boling fear news of a cure could cause some to become reckless. She has news to those who may want to take a different path.
"Just because this baby's getting cured, yeah that brings hope to us, but you never know how long it's gonna take for it to get to us. Never stop playing safe," says Boling.