Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins University announced the first documented case of a child being cured of HIV at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections yesterday, Mar. 3.
The case described a two-year old girl in Mississippi who was born infected with HIV. Doctors immediately put her on a course of antiretroviral therapy. When she turned 18 months, she ceased taking the drugs for reasons that aren't clear. Five months later, she saw her doctor again and subsequent testing showed she no longer harbored the deadly virus, which infects the immune system.
This case is unprecedented, and it could lead to new treatment options for cases of pediatric HIV. It shows that immediate intervention with antiretroviral therapy in cases where a child is infected from birth can cure the disease.
So far, in adults the only known cases of an HIV cure were those of two men whose infection disappeared after receiving a bone marrow transplant from donors immune to the virus. The Mississippi case could open new doors to understanding how HIV can be cured using less drastic measures such as drug treatments.