FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
July 10, 2014
iStock

A young girl who appeared to be cured of HIV after intensive drug therapy does in fact have the virus, doctors announced on Thursday.

The four-year-old girl from Mississippi was born prematurely to a mother with HIV, and began taking antiretroviral drugs just 30 hours after birth. After 18 months of taking the drugs, the girl's mother stopped taking her to the doctor and giving her the pills. Five months later, she was examined again and doctors found her blood did not show any detectable levels of HIV or HIV-specific antibodies.

Her story was shared at an AIDS conference in 2013, and was the foundation for an upcoming clinical trial to test if babies born to infected mothers can discontinue taking drugs after they show signs of going into remission. The discovery earlier this month of the virus in her blood hit doctors hard.

"It felt very much like a punch to the gut," Dr. Hannah Gay, pediatric HIV specialist at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, said during a news conference.

The girl was given antiretroviral drugs as soon as the virus was found in her blood, and is responding well. With this discovery, some are now wondering if it is ethical to continue with the planned clinical trial. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, believes it will not cross any lines. "I think what would be questionable is if people on their own, without a clinical study, decided they were going to all of a sudden empirically stop therapy just to see if things were OK with the baby," he told the Los Angeles Times. "That's a different story than doing it under a very carefully controlled and monitored clinical trial." Catherine Garcia

4:49 p.m. ET

Beyoncé will forgo her planned performance at the 2017 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, event organizers announced Thursday. The pop star, who announced last month she is expecting twins with husband Jay Z, cited doctors' advice to "keep a less rigorous schedule in coming months" as the basis for the decision.

In lieu of leading the Coachella 2017 lineup, Beyoncé will headline the 2018 festival. Her replacement for this year has yet to be announced.

Beyoncé has not revealed her due date, but as she was already showing at her performance at the Grammys on Feb. 12, many predicted she might drop out of Coachella. She was slated to headline on both April 15 and April 22 of the two-weekend-long affair in Indio, California.

If you need to see it to believe it, read Coachella's announcement in full below. Becca Stanek

4:46 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

During this week's congressional recess, some lawmakers returned to their home districts to meet with constituents for the first time since President Trump took office last month. Many Republicans found themselves facing angry crowds during subsequent town halls, including Sen. Joni Ernst (Iowa), Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.), and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah), while House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.), and others have been criticized for failing to make themselves available to their constituencies at all.

All the hubbub has some GOP representatives declining full-stop to hold town halls. In attempting to defend those evasive lawmakers, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) on Tuesday cited the case of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot in the head at a constituent meeting in January 2011. After Giffords was shot — she survived the incident and returned to the House floor just seven months later, but resigned from Congress in 2012 — Gohmert says the House Sergeant at Arms "advised us ... that civilian attendees at congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed," arguing the meetings are a threat to public safety. Gohmert also cited the dangers of possible paid protesters from the "more violent strains of the leftist ideology ... who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc."

One person who's not buying Gohmert's reasoning? Giffords, who on Thursday responded to his comments with a statement declaring town halls are "what the people deserve in a representative." She noted she "was shot on a Saturday morning. By Monday morning, my offices were open to the public." "To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this," she wrote. "Have some courage. Face your constituents. Hold town halls." Kimberly Alters

2:34 p.m. ET

Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon continued their campaign to prove that they definitely don't hate each other and absolutely are best friends during a strange little interview at CPAC on Thursday that ABC News' Ali Rogin dubbed a "buddy comedy."

At one point, the pair were asked to name something that they like about the other. Preibus, apparently joking, offered up Bannon's "collars." "I love how many collars he wears," Preibus said. "It's an interesting look."

For his part, Bannon said: "I can run a little hot on occasions … the only way this works is Reince is always steady … but his job is by far one of the toughest I've ever seen in my life. To make it run every day, to make the trains — and you only see the surface."

Put the odd reference to Benito Mussolini aside and it's actually pretty sweet. Watch the rest below. Jeva Lange

1:53 p.m. ET
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

The race to become the Democratic National Committee chairman narrowed on Thursday when South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jamie Harrison dropped out, endorsing frontrunner Tom Perez in the process. Perez served as labor secretary under former President Barack Obama and holds about 205 of the 447 total DNC member votes. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and the party's more progressive wing, trails Perez with around 153 votes.

"With so much at stake, our next chair will lead the fight of a generation," Harrison said in an email to NBC. "I'm standing by Tom Perez's side, and I hope you will join me in doing the same."

If Perez picks up at least 20 of Harrison's 27 votes, he will likely have a majority heading into the first round of voting Saturday. The winner needs only to win a simple majority of 224 votes or more; if no candidate achieves a majority Saturday, DNC members will cast votes in progressive rounds, eliminating the lowest vote-receiving candidates until a candidate emerges with the majority.

On Wednesday night, all of the DNC candidates went head-to-head in a CNN debate. You can watch a 90 second recap of what unfolded here. Jeva Lange

12:10 p.m. ET

Ted Cruz used some colorful — or rather, vespertilionine — language to describe the Democratic base during an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday.

"From the left, their base … There's a technical term for their base, " Cruz began.

"Moscow," his interviewer answered.

Cruz nodded, but added: "I was going a different direction, which was 'bat-crap crazy.'" Watch the exchange below. Jeva Lange

11:55 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Thursday, former Republican House Speaker John Boehner claimed that a full repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act is "not going to happen," calling the suggestion that it might just "happy talk," Politico reports.

Boehner, who resigned in 2015, instead suggested that there would be small changes to ObamaCare. "Most of the framework of the Affordable Care Act … that's going to be there," Boehner predicted. He added that he "started laughing" when he heard of President Trump's plans to quickly push through health-care reform: "Republicans never agree on health care," Boehner said.

President Trump has suggested that he will have a new health care plan by mid-March, but Boehner said he isn't buying it. "[Congressional Republicans are] going to fix ObamaCare — I shouldn't call it repeal-and-replace, because it's not going to happen," he said. Jeva Lange

11:39 a.m. ET

President Donald Trump on Thursday met with several top manufacturing executives to discuss regulatory reform and job creation. But amid all that boring talk, Trump implored General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt to discuss an important matter: the time he shot a hole-in-one.

"Jeff actually watched me make a hole-in-one," Trump informed the gathered businesspeople after Immelt greeted him during the roundtable. "Should you tell that story?"

Immelt, apparently, decided that he should. Watch the moment below. Kimberly Alters

See More Speed Reads