Baby possibly cured of HIV

A baby born in rural Mississippi has been cured of HIV, doctors report. The child, now more than two years old, has been off retroviral drugs for a year and shows no signs of the virus.

When the child was delivered in fall of 2010, the mother did not know she had HIV. After tests revealed the virus in both mother and child, the baby was transferred to the University of Mississippi Medical Center where it could receive immediate medical care.

The process of aggressively administering retroviral drugs to infants is usually used as a preventative treatment for children whose parents had HIV but do not yet show signs of it themselves. The baby, whose name and gender have not been released to the public, tested positive for HIV, differentiating this case from the usual preventative treatment.

Outside doctors have been reluctant to accept that this baby was cured. Many request definitive evidence that the baby was in fact infected.

If the case is confirmed, the baby would be the second person in the world to be cured of HIV. The first was Timothy Brown, an adult who received a bone marrow transplant from a doctor genetically resistant to the virus.

Although treatment for babies would not be relevant to infected adults, an infant cure could sharply reduce the number of children living with HIV and AIDS. The United Nations reported that in 2011 an estimated 330,000 babies were newly infected. This number could be drastically affected if this Mississippi case proves to be repeatable.

Information for this article was taken from www.nytimes.com.

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