JACKSON, Miss.--A child with HIV is cured, say doctors at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital. It was aggressive treatment, more aggressive than normal that led to the cure of the two-and-a-half year old, who has now been free of the virus for over a year, say the scientists.
Pediatric HIV specialist Dr. Hannah Gay, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, provided treatment and observed the child for over 18 months.
"We've been unable to detect replication competent virus after ten months off antiviral therapy," said Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore, who helped with the case at a press conference this weekend at the CDC in Atlanta. "We believe that perhaps very early treatment prevented the formation of the viral reservoirs."
That had some medical lingo in it, but the point was that scientists see this as a new path to pursue in the treatment of HIV.
The mother of the baby was not diagnosed with HIV until she was in labor. The child was receiving treatments prior to being diagnosed.
The child is from a rural part of the state and doctors at UMMC say that about 60 to 75 babies are born with HIV each year in the state.
So far the child has showed no signs of having the virus, which could eventually lead to AIDS. Doctors will continue to monitor the baby and make sure the cure is permanent.
Though it is the first case of a child being cured, it is the second case in the world of a cure. The first was in an adult male, who was cured with a bone marrow transplant.