Doctors viewing HIV and AIDS in a new light

Since the first cases of aids were reported back in 1981, more than 600,000 Americans have died. But thanks to advances in treatment, the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the US are living longer then ever before.

Sloppy joe night at the Twietmeyer's is always a hit, especially when you have 13 mouths to feed. With seven kids of their own, the Twietmeyers opened their home to six more from Ethiopia, two with HIV.

Carolyn Twietmeyer, adopted 2 children with HIV, explains how these kids are similar to other kids, "The truth of it is that these children can be adopted and live long, healthy lives and you're not going to catch it by loving them."

Kiel Twietmeyer, adopted 2 children with HIV, explains how people should not be scared, "Don't be scared. These kids need families."

Nine out of ten children with HIV are infected by their mother, like Selah. When the Twietmeyers went to Africa to adopt her, she was near death, 11 years old and just 32 pounds, in stage four AIDS.

Selah Twietmeyer, adopted with HIV, explains how sick she was, "I was really skinny and I was really sick."

But now she's thriving. Now with twice daily medication, Selah's viral load is undetectable.

Selah explains how HIV is nothing to be afraid of, "HIV is nothing. It's nothing to be scared of."

Thirty years ago someone diagnosed with AIDS had about a year to live, but thanks to improvements in Antiretroviral Therapy, doctors now classify AIDS as a chronic illness, much like diabetes, which can be controlled with medication. Studies show the life expectancy of a person newly diagnosed with HIV has jumped from seven years to 24. Still there is no cure. But scientists are exploring two new possibilities: gene therapy to make cells resistant to HIV and therapeutic vaccines to control it.

Giving children like Selah a chance at a normal life.

Selah explains how much her life has changed, "I never knew my life would be like this."

While the outlook for those with HIV is getting better, an estimated 56,000 Americans will become infected this year. One in five don't know they are.


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