Baby Born with HIV is ‘Functionally Cured’

Disclosure: Photo taken from iStockphoto

A Mississippi toddler who was born with HIV is said to be healthy and ‘functionally cured’ two years after receiving faster and stronger treatment than has ever been used before.

This announcement was made by scientists at the 2013 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta on Sunday.

It all started two years ago when a pregnant woman, who had not received any prenatal care, entered the emergency room of a rural hospital in advanced stages of labor. The mother-to-be was then diagnosed as HIV positive.

Normally when a woman is found to be positive with HIV while in labor, doctors will put her newborn on low-dose medication to try to stop the HIV from spreading. However, in this baby’s case, a different method was used, and the baby was subjected to stronger treatment.

According to Huffington Post, Dr. Hannah Gay, pediatric HIV specialist at the University of Mississippi, decided to give the baby an aggressive three-drug infusion (AZT, 3TC, nevirapine) just 30 hours after being born.

Dr. Gay spoke about why she decided to perform something out of the ordinary with this baby and said, “I just felt like this baby was at higher-than-normal risk, and deserved our best shot.”

The baby, who is now two-and-a-half-years-old, has been off all medication for just about a year, and there does not seem to be any signs of H.I.V. in her blood, ABC News reported.

Scientists believe the method Dr. Gay implemented could have knocked the HIV out of the baby’s blood before it had a chance to create hideouts in her body.

Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health explained to The Associated Press, “You could call this about as close to a cure, if not a cure, that we’ve seen.”

Huffington Post shared that this Mississippi case of HIV may provide doctors with clues on how to eliminate HIV in children.