AIDS Issues Update Blog

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A Medical First: Baby With HIV Deemed Cured, Though No Cure for Stigma

Posted by Sunny Bjerk , March 04, 2013

A Medical First: Baby With HIV Deemed Cured, Though No Cure for Stigma

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Over the weekend news broke that a baby born with HIV may have been cured, thanks to the quick-thinking interventions of medical personnel.

The baby was born in Mississippi about two and a half years ago to a mother who came to the hospital in labor and who had not been to the hospital previously during her pregnancy. The mother tested HIV-positive and the baby was put on high-doses of three antiretroviral drugs within 30 hours of birth, in hopes of suppressing the virus and its progression into the body.

The doctors working on this case reported that within 29 days of treatment, the baby had undetectable viral levels in her blood. Now, nearly two and a half years later, there is “no evidence of HIV” in the toddler. This finding is especially astounding given that the mother inexplicably stopped the child’s treatment for 8-10 months.

Doctors and researchers are calling the child “functionally cured,” meaning that standard tests cannot detect HIV in the blood and lifelong treatment will not be necessary.

This breakthrough in treating HIV in this baby has some doctors wondering if there is something different about babies’ immune systems that prevents virus from replicating, as some doctors are skeptical that this “cure” could be replicated among newly-infected adults.

Regardless, new studies are already underway to see if early testing and/or early treatment can work for other HIV+ babies.

While this breakthrough certainly won’t heal our society’s discrimination, fear, and bigotry against people living with HIV/AIDS, it is a wonderful step in medical advancements against the disease.

Read the full article here.

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