amfAR, which stands for The Foundation for AIDS Research, is dedicated to ending the global AIDS epidemic via innovative research. With the freedom and flexibility needed to respond quickly to emerging areas of scientific promise, amfAR has been playing a significant role in accelerating the pace of HIV/AIDS research and achieving real breakthroughs. In a news release published on March 4, 2013, amfAR has reported, Research Support from amfAR Documents First Case of Child Cured of HIV.
Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center has described the first documented case of a child who has been cured of HIV. Dr. Persaud, who is an amfAR grantee, has detailed the case of a two-year-old child in Mississippi diagnosed with HIV at birth and immediately put on antiretroviral therapy. At 18 months, the child stopped taking antiretrovirals and was lost to follow-up.
Thereafter, when the child was brought back into care at 23 months, despite being off treatment for five months, the child was discovered to have an undetectable viral load. A battery of subsequent highly sensitive tests has confirmed the absence of HIV. amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost has said, “The case is a startling reminder that a cure for HIV could come in ways we never anticipated, and we hope this is the first of many children cured of HIV in the months and years to come.”
The only other case of an HIV cure which has been documented to date remains that of Timothy Brown, the so-called “Berlin patient.” In 2006, while on treatment for HIV, Mr. Brown was also diagnosed with leukemia. His physician treated his leukemia with a stem-cell transplant from a person who was born with a genetic mutation which causes immunity to HIV infection. After the transplant, Mr. Brown was able to stop HIV treatment without experiencing a return of his HIV disease.