What We're Reading: Immune System Shown to Cure HIV; Premature Births Increasing; Handling Mental Health Crises

Researchers have found a second reported case of an immune system potentially curing a person of HIV; US premature birth rates are on the rise in minority groups; most Americans say mental health professionals should be first responders to mental health and suicide situations.

Woman’s Immune System Reportedly Cures Her of HIV

According to a study published yesterday in Annals of Internal Medicine, a woman in Argentina may have been cured of HIV by her immune system. Reported by NBC News, the 30-year-old mother, who received her diagnosis in 2013 and is also known as the “Esperanza patient,” would be only the second reported case of a so-called sterilizing cure for the virus via natural immunity. HIV is especially difficult to cure because of viral reservoirs, collections of long-lived immune cells, that can remain dormant for extended periods of time. So far, HIV has been successfully cured therapeutically in 2 people through complex and potentially dangerous stem cell transplants.

Premature Births Rising in Black, Native American Women

A study published yesterday by March of Dimes shows that the overall rate of premature births in the United States decreased for the first time in 6 years, but not in at-risk groups of Black and American Indian/Alaskan Native people. Despite decreasing in the United States from 10.2% in 2019 to 10.1% in 2020, the at-risk groups were conversely shown to now be up to 60% more likely to give birth prematurely compared with White women. Notably, the rate of preterm birth has increased by nearly 8% for Black women since 2014 and by 11% for American Indian/Alaskan Native people.

Poll Says Police Should Not Handle Mental Health Crises

A poll released yesterday by Ipsos on behalf of the National Alliance on Mental Illness found that a majority of Americans said mental health professionals, not law enforcement, should be first responders to mental health and suicide situations. Reported by The Hill, 72% of respondents had a favorable view of police, but more than 60% said they would be afraid that law enforcement would hurt a loved one when responding to a mental health crisis. Almost half also said they would be afraid to call 911 for a loved one experiencing a mental health crisis.