Access to Hope, Motherhood, and Treatment
What can almost be called an accidental cure of an American child born
with HIV sent the world buzzing, while the scientific community debated
whether or not it was in fact a cure (see page 3). Even so, the case
inspires us to redouble our hope for a cure and our efforts to find one in
a world that sometimes seems to forget that HIV killed 1.7 million people
and infected 330,000 children in 2011 (UNAIDS, 2012).
Living with HIV does not mean a person has to be defined by
it. Yet reports show that HIV-positive women in the Asia-Pacific are
being pressured to end their pregnancies or be sterilized after delivery.
This causes a mixture of sadness, anger, and frustration that we have
not come far enough in our efforts to combat HIV-related stigma and
discrimination (see pages 1–2). If we agree that antiretroviral therapy turns HIV into a manageable
chronic disease, women with HIV should be allowed access to motherhood.
A judicial decision in India went a long way towards ensuring that people in low- and middleincome
countries can access the HIV treatment they need by upholding a patent law that allows
production of generic antiretroviral drugs to continue (see page 8). Until a cure is in our hands, we
cannot reduce our financial and political commitments to supporting global treatment targets.
Annette H. Sohn, M.D.