March 7, 2013
Doctor Who ‘Cured’ Baby With AIDS Guided By Prayer, Faith
(UPDATED) Mississippi pediatrician behind the treatment is a former Baptist missionary to Ethiopia.
Update (Apr. 1): Hannah Gay talks more about her faith in a Baptist Press interview.
Update (Mar. 12): Debate continues over whether the baby was actually infected vs. exposed to HIV, and thus the true significance of the treatment.
The doctor who made headlines last week for apparently curing a baby girl born with AIDS began her work in pediatric HIV after observing the spread of the disease while as a missionary in Africa.
Hannah Gay, a Southern Baptist and doctor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, is responsible for the aggressive, early treatment being heralded as a “functional cure” for a two-year-old girl who now continues to test negative for HIV.
Hannah Gay and her husband, Paul, worked as missionaries in Ethiopia for several years as the HIV epidemic hit in the '80s, and when they returned, Gay started her extensive work to prevent transmission of HIV to newborns and treat children infected with the disease, Baptist Press reported.
"[Faith] influences every area of her practice. Hannah ministers through everything she touches. Her ministry is supported and guided by prayer," Paul Gay told Baptist Press. "She has a dedication that flows from her relationship with God and I think that has attracted a team to work with her who share her commitment."
Gay, a mother of four and the leader of the Bible drill competitions at her church, shies away from the attention her treatment—which has been reported on by researchers at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and the University of Massachusetts Medical School—has received, The Washington Post said.
For decades, Christians like Gay have worked to minister to those infected with AIDS and HIV, both in the U.S. and across the globe. The disease has killed an estimated 25 million people since it was first recognized in 1981.