AIDS awareness red ribbon
WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists say a baby born with the AIDS virus appears to have been cured thanks to faster and stronger treatment than is usual for newborns.
Scientists at a major AIDS meeting say the Mississippi child is now 2½ and has been off HIV drugs for about a year with no signs of infection.
If the child remains healthy, it would mark only the world's second reported cure. Specialists say it offers promising clues for more research to fight pediatric HIV.
Doctors don't usually give high-dose treatment right after birth, before first confirming that a newborn really is infected.
Sunday's announcement in Atlanta suggests doing so in this case wiped out HIV before it could form hideouts in the body that usually reinfect anyone who stops medication.
Dr. Dean Blumberg is the Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UC Davis Medical Center.
"We currently follow between 30 and 40 children that are HIV infected," said Blumberg.
Regarding the latest developments, Blumberg said, "Well, they're potentially very exciting. But, we're a little skeptical until we get the full report out."
He says a cure would have a tremendous impact on HIV positive children who currently require life-long treatment.
"They have to suffer through side effects. It's hard to suffer through medication through the rest of their life. If we can give people this kind of hope --that you need to just take this medication for a certain period of time and then we'll be done with it, it would be so wonderful," said Dr. Blumberg.
The Associated Press