A goal for 2015: End to babies with AIDS

Michael Kofi Acquah is the epitome of health. The vivacious 4-year-old who lives outside Ghana’s capital, Accra, loves soccer and dancing.

Not so long ago, Michael could have been at death’s door. His mother, Doris Quaynor, has HIV. Quaynor was diagnosed in 1998, but after five years, she was finally able to receive some antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. The medication not only gave Quaynor a normal life — it even gave her a healthy baby.

“I worked closely with a physician to monitor my antibody count to make sure it was high enough to have a baby,” explains Quaynor, who works as a seamstress. “We continued to monitor my health and ARV medication to keep the level of HIV low and reduce the chance of transmission. After birth, Michael was also given doses of HIV medicine.”

Michael remains a relative rarity though. Every year, some 430,000 babies are born with HIV — 90 percent of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

But soon the world may be welcoming an HIV-free generation. The charity (RED), working with The Global Fund, has made AIDS babies the focus of “Born HIV Free,” a new campaign to create an AIDS-free generation by 2015. Ninety-nine percent of HIV-positive women on ARV drugs who give their babies infant formula instead of breastmilk avoid infecting their babies.

“There has been remarkable progress in the past year alone,” says Anurita Bains, senior advisor to The Global Fund’s executive director. “South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi are on the path to end mother-to-child transmission. Political leaders are tackling the issue not because they adore babies but because eliminating HIV among them is achievable.”

Doris Quaynor, whose treatment was funded by (RED), remains healthy. And Michael is already planning for the future: He wants to become a soldier. To that, Quaynor says: “I’d prefer him to become a pilot.”

Together, though divided by HIV

The Ogori family is one with mixed fortunes: One half is HIV-negative, the other HIV-positive.
“I found out that I had HIV two years ago, when I was pregnant with my second son,” explains Beatrice Abakah-Ogori, a hairdresser in Accra, Ghana. “I couldn’t believe it. Shortly after I found out, my husband Charles also went for an HIV test and found out he was negative. It was very difficult for him but he decided that he couldn’t abandon me.”

Beatrice immediately began ARV treatment. Her son, Herbert, was born HIV-free. “He has been tested several times and is definitely HIV-negative,” she says. “But the doctors encouraged us to test our older son, Bright, as well. “He’s HIV-positive. I didn’t know my HIV status when I was pregnant with him so I didn’t even know I could transmit the disease.”

Bright will become an engineer, his mother hopes, a career his father dreamed of. As for Herbert? Beatrice says: “I’d love for him to become a doctor so that he can help others in the same way the doctors helped him be HIV-negative.”


Police seek mother of slain 11-year-old on involuntary…

Police are seeking the mother of an 11-year-old girl who was accidentally shot to death by her 2-year-old brother two weeks ago on involuntary manslaughter…


Chestnut Hill College student found dead Wednesday morning

A 22-year-0ld Chestnut Hill College student was found dead this morning inside a college dormitory, police said.


Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.


Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…


Review: 'Heaven is for Real' tries to be…

The mega-bestseller "Heaven is for Real" becomes a movie that tries to portray wrestling with faith — or at least it tries to try.


Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.


Poems from prison: 'How to Survive a Bullet…

Celebrate National Poetry Month with, "'How to Survive a Bullet to the Heart."


Review: 'Bears' is a cute Disney doc about…

Disney's latest nature doc, "Bears," doesn't completely shy away from the fact that its subjects would devour you (or eachother) if they had the chance.

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.


NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?


Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.


Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.


3 easy DIY updates for your home

While you're deep into spring cleaning, why not make a few tweaks to give your home a fresh decorative twist? Don't worry, we're not talking…


Martha Stewart's tips for a perfect Easter

Even if your dinner isn't as perfect as hers, you can use her advice.


Steal home decorating tips from stylist and creator…

We hit her up for some space-conscious, budget-friendly design tips.


Wahlbergs expanding Wahlburgers fast food joint across North…

Wahlburgers will open new restaurants in Boston, Toronto and Philadelphia.