A 3-year-old girl who was born HIV positive shows no signs of the virus after receiving aggressive treatment for the first 18 months of her life. The AP reports, “Doctors now have convincing evidence that they put HIV into remission, hopefully for good, in a Mississippi baby born with the AIDS virus — a medical first that is prompting a new look at how hard and fast such cases should be treated.” They add, “Doctors won’t call it a cure because they don’t know what proof or how much time is needed to declare someone free of HIV infection, long feared to be permanent.”
It was three years ago, in 2010, when medical professionals announced in the journal Blood that they believed to have cured HIV in a man who underwent a stem-cell transplant for leukemia in 2007. Leukemia and HIV appear to have an interesting relationship: this summer, doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia announced that a man-made strain of HIV cured a child’s leukemia.
According to the AP, “A government-sponsored international study starting in January aims to test early treatment in babies born with HIV to see if the results in this case can be reproduced.” Doctors remain cautious, however. The AP notes, “Dr. Peter Havens, pediatric HIV chief at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and a government adviser on HIV treatment guidelines, said the child may have an undiscovered genetic trait that helped her manage the virus. ‘I’m just not convinced that her dramatic response would be replicable in a large population …. It’s too soon to recommend treating other high-risk babies so aggressively without more study,’ he said.”
For more on how the child was diagnosed, treated and recovered, visit ABC News.
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