Sandra Anderson's decades long battle with AIDS has had it's ups and downs, but she's gotten the upper-hand.
My current status is undetectable, and my CD4 is over 1200,” she says. “I’m happy, I'm healthy, I'm fulfilled, and I'm free.”
Her story is one of many showing that a diagnosis is no longer a death sentence.
“You can thrive with this, because of the medication, because of the new advancements.”
Some of those advancements are going on right here in our backyard.
Over at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, scientists have made a major breakthrough in the last few weeks when it comes to HIV - which over time develops into AIDS.
“We have developed molecules that will put the virus in a state of profound coma,” says Dr. Susana Valente.
The drug, when tested in mice, essentially put HIV to sleep - making the virus undetectable
“The virus is there, but you don't feel it's presence, and the person can live without taking drugs,” Dr. Valente says.
The drug still hasn't gone through human trials, but the scientists at Scripps say continuing advancements here and around the world may spell the beginning of the end for the virus.
“I hope that in my lifetime we'll see a cure for HIV,” Dr. Valente says.
Sandra is hopeful too.
“What's going on with this institute and the advancements…nothing less than a miracle,” she says.
Sandra says it's time to break the stigma, and she wants others who are struggling to look forward.
“Continue to live, continue to dream, continue to plan, and have your goals, because the best is yet to come in your life.”
Sandra has written a book about her life and overcoming her struggle with AIDS.