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What are the Implications of US Doctors Curing a Child of HIV?

Posted on Mar 4, 2013, 3:51:11 PM by healtheo360

While the number of children born with the HIV virus has taken a dive in fallen countries, recently the fight against HIV had another major victory.

For the first time in medical history, US doctors have cured an infant who was born with HIV.

The anonymous two and a half year old Mississippi native no longer infectious to others is expected to live a long healthy life and no longer needs medication.

"Now, after at least one year of taking no medicine, this child's blood remains free of virus even on the most sensitive tests available. We expect that this baby to have great chances for a long, healthy life. We are certainly hoping that this approach could lead to the same outcome in many other high-risk babies," stated Dr. Hannah Gay, who provided care for the child at the Mississippi U medical center.

The child’s treatment began 30 hours after birth. The doctors opted for an irregular treatment of three different antiretroviral drugs rather than the regular single antiretroviral drug dosage.  Doctors avoided regular protocol when it came to light that the mother had received no treatments during her pregnancy. "She was too near delivery to give even the dose of medicine that we routinely use in labor. So the baby's risk of infection was significantly higher than we usually see," said Dr. Gay.

After a month of treatments, HIV was no longer detectible in the infant’s blood. Even after months off treatment, two years later, the child was still negative for HIV.

Dr. Gay and her team affirm that the infant was cured so miraculously because the treatments were administered so potently in such a short period of time after birth.

"Prompt antiviral therapy in newborns that begins within days of exposure may help infants clear the virus and achieve long-term remission without lifelong treatment by preventing such viral hideouts from forming in the first place," said Dr. Deborah Persaud of John Hopkins Children’s Center. "Our next step is to find out if this is a highly unusual response to very early antiretroviral therapy or something we can actually replicate in other high-risk newborns."

While this breakthrough is exciting, it is too early for anyone to stop taking currently effective treatments. Prevention, medication and utilization of online support groups are the best bet to safely manage HIV.


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