HIV positive man says news of toddler cured brings 'mixed emotions'
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CHARLOTTE -- Scientists announced Sunday that a Mississippi toddler was functionally cured of HIV, bringing mixed emotions to a young Charlotte man born HIV positive.
The 20-year-old, who didn't want his identity revealed, said being HIV positive is all he has known, and there is a stigma that continues to surround the disease.
"I've only found a few friends that actually accepted it," he said.
Chelsea White, with the Regional Aids Interfaith Network, said she sees it all too often.
"I've been working with the youth program for over eight years now and I have seen hundreds of positive youth and though HIV is no longer a medical death and you can live with it for a long time, it is still very much so a social death," said White.
This young man said his life has been a struggle from the beginning but he said those who have stood by him keep him going.
"They still try to cope with me having it and still they will still be around me and still know that I have this and they try to be my friend," he said.
For one toddler in Mississippi, living with HIV may no longer be her fate. According to scientists, she has been functionally cured. Researchers said the girl was born to a mother with HIV and was given three anti-viral drugs within hours of birth.
Now, at age 2, they said she is showing no signs of the disease. For this young man, the news brings mixed emotions.
"I guess I'm a little upset mostly, because I mean, when I was little they didn't have it back then with me. But at least someone else gets a cure so they won't have to go through what I've been through," he said.
He said he does have hope that this is a positive sign in terms of research and a major step in one day finding a cure for all ages.
If the Mississippi child stays healthy, scientists said she will be the second person to be cured of HIV.