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U.S. Doctors Gutsy Move Led to Baby's Cure From HIV

3/6/2013

Reuters
By Emily Le Coz and Julie Steenhuysen
March 6, 2013

The doctor who cured an HIV infected baby for the first time is happier talking to children than to adults and is finding all the attention since the news came out a little overwhelming.

Dr. Hannah Gay and colleagues Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga of the University of Massachusetts and Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reported on the child's case at a medical meeting in Atlanta on Sunday.

"The breakthrough has been exciting and I'm very hopeful that that's going to lead to future research that will give us some answers," said Gay, a Mississippi pediatrician and soft-spoken mother of four adult children.

But the attention is difficult for a woman "much more comfortable talking to children than adults," said her husband, Paul Gay. "She didn't anticipate this kind of explosion of attention."

Dr. Gay, a 59-year-old native of Jackson, Mississippi, likes to spend time designing needle points, singing in her church choir and reading theology or medical literature when she's not working 12-hour days treating patients, in a state with the nation's highest poverty rate.

"She is the most unlikely person in the world to be getting this kind of international attention, really," said Jay Richardson, her former pastor at the Highland Colony Baptist Church. "You don't ever hear her talking about herself or trying to promote herself in any way. She's a quiet, humble person. Extremely intelligent. Very committed to her faith. Very involved in her church. Very committed to teaching children the bible."

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