In what is nothing less than remarkable a case of a baby being cured of HIV infection in the United States using drugs that are readily available is raising new hope for eradicating HIV in infants worldwide.
The Mississippi child was born in July of 2010 and was infected with HIV from birth. The newborn was treated within 30 hours of delivery with aggressive HIV therapy. This therapy continued for 18 months. Doctors now consider her cured of the infection.
Dr. Steven Deeks who is an HIV/AIDS researcher at the University of California at San Francisco and others hailed the news as a great advance in the search for a cure in babies born infected with HIV. Advancements such as these could make it easier for physicians to cure adults in the future.
"From a clinical perspective, this means that if you can get an infected baby on to antiretroviral drugs immediately after delivery, it's going to be possible to prevent or reverse the infection - essentially cure the baby," said Dr. Steven Deeks, an HIV/AIDS researcher at the University of California at San Francisco who is attending the conference, where the case was presented to researchers on Monday.
Worldwide, as many as 1,000 babies are born infected each day. For these children, the findings could have a major impact on the "terrible burden of HIV infection throughout the world," Fauci said.
Michel Sidibé, executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, known as UNAIDS, said the news "gives us great hope that a cure for HIV in children is possible," but it also underscores the need for research and innovation, "especially in the area of early diagnostics."