Knoxville doctor says HIV cure not here yet

Knoxville doctor says HIV cure not here yet

Posted:
"My first reaction was this was a very good outcome for that particular infant, but I'm a little skeptical that it will result in any major changes in treatment of the vast majority of people with HIV," said Dr. Mark Rasnake. "My first reaction was this was a very good outcome for that particular infant, but I'm a little skeptical that it will result in any major changes in treatment of the vast majority of people with HIV," said Dr. Mark Rasnake.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The news that there might be a cure for HIV got a lot of people excited Monday, but local doctors say it will be awhile before there are any changes in how HIV treatments are done.

Wayne Smith, the director of Samaritan Ministry, a HIV/AIDS support group at Central Baptist Church of Bearden, has mixed feelings about the news.

"I'm kind of a skeptic, so my first reaction was a little skepticism," said Smith. "I'm always wanting to know the source."

He says so far only one person from their support group has emailed him about the news.

Dr. Mark Rasnake, an infectious disease physician at University of Tennessee Medical Center, says the case is credible, but more research needs to be done.

"My first reaction was this was a very good outcome for that particular infant, but I'm a little skeptical that it will result in any major changes in treatment of the vast majority of people with HIV," said Dr. Rasnake.

Dr. Rasnake says mothers with HIV who have good prenatal care have a very low chance of giving their children the HIV virus. He says the child in Mississippi will need to have regular check-ups to make sure the virus does not come back.

"I think the most important thing here is people need to be screened, especially pregnant moms," said Dr. Rasnake. "They need to know their HIV status early on because this entire situation could have been prevented if the mom had known her HIV state earlier in pregnancy.

He says currently adults with HIV are already on the three-drug combination that this infant was given, and is not sure if this will be a new treatment for babies. Dr. Rasnake says he sure it will be debated.

Both experts say people who have HIV currently do not need to do anything differently because of the case in Mississippi.

"Keep on doing what you are doing, pay attention to your health, and don't make any changes based on one news report," said Smith.

If you are interested in attending the HIV/AIDS support group with the Samaritan Ministry you can call Wayne Smith at 865-450-1000.

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