Lexington Mother With HIV Hopeful For Future

Reported by: Amanda Stevenson
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Updated: 3/04/2013 6:33 pm
A Mississippi baby with HIV was called "functionally cured" by doctors, after the child hadn't received treatment in over a year.

A mother in Lexington heard the news, and became excited for her own diagnosis.

"It was like a blessing, and it was like hope. If they can save this little baby from it, then surely to goodness, eventually, they're gonna be able to do things for us who have been affected by it for so many years," said Felisa Shelby.

Shelby was diagnosed with HIV in April 1998--two weeks after she found out she was pregnant with her daughter, Shellisha.

Her first priority--saving her baby from the disease.

"I took as much medication as they told me that I had to take. I mean, I swallowed it faithfully so that I could get my daughter here and my daughter could be healthy."

Shellisha was born HIV-negative. Shelby said that fact, and the Mississippi baby's story, give her hope for the future.

Mark Royse, executive director for AIDS Volunteers, INC. (AVOL), agreed.

"In the next five to ten years, I think it's gonna be really interesting to see the medical advances related to HIV/AIDS," he said.

AVOL reports that, annually, there are 42,000 new cases of HIV in the United States. Royse said getting tested is the best thing people can do for themselves.

"One out of every four HIV-positive people don't know they're positive," he said. He added that it's especially important for pregnant women, so they can keep their unborn child from catching it.

If you want to get tested, AVOL does it for free from 6-8 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, or any time by appointment.

You can contact AVOL by calling 859-225-3000 ext. 30.

To prevent contracting (or spreading) HIV, there are steps you can take. AVOL has a list of things to look out for, and how you can reduce your risk of getting it.
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