It's been quite a week for Dr. Hannah Gay. Last Friday, she announced to the media she cured a child of HIV. Since then, she's been bombarded with interview requests from across the globe. UMC's Public Affairs Department tells us journalists from the Philippines, Great Britain, even Al Jazeera have contacted the hospital wanting just a few minutes with Dr. Gay.
She's back in Jackson after speaking earlier this week at a medical conference in Atlanta. We talked with her about all the attention she's receiving after her big announcement.
"Yeah, I really think the British just are interested in hearing my southern accent," she joked with journalists Friday in Jackson. "At this point in time, I'm ready to get back to another day at the office."
Dr. Gay is half joking. She says she isn't used to the spotlight but is very proud of the work she's done.
"I'm certainly overjoyed that this child is doing well. I'm very hopeful that it's going to be generalizable knowledge eventually after the studies are done, and that it will help other babies around the world," she says.
In the United States, doctors aggressively treat women who have HIV while they're pregnant. In most cases, their babies are born free of the disease. In countries where that treatment isn't available, an estimated 300,000 babies are born with HIV every year. Dr. Gay's cure could prove invaluable in those countries.
"I have gotten calls from some of my patients already saying, 'well can I have that cure?'" she says. "And I need for people to understand that we don't have a magic pill yet, and it will be years before we have a cure that we can apply consistently."
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