If the statistics are to be accepted as accurate then it is safe to say that around 35 million people infected with HIV across the world will find hope in the story shared by USA Today. Doctors have reported what many would consider a miracle; a child in the United States has been cured of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The doctors will now have to wait and see if the virus will return in the future.
The cured patient is a 30 month old girl from Mississippi. She tested positive at birth. Her mother had not received any type of prenatal support. Both mother and child had not been tested for HIV until the birth. For this reason, doctors proceeded with the administration of anti-AIDS treatment the day after the little girl was born.
Under normal circumstances, anti-retroviral treatment should begin during pregnancy and continue until the newborn is at least six weeks old. Many medical professionals believe the treatment should continue throughout the child’s lifetime.
What makes this girl’s case even more intriguing is the fact that for about five months the child was not taking any medication for her condition. Professor Hannah Gay of the University of Mississippi Medical Centre oversees the treatment of the child. Gay says that it is common for women infected with HIV to have periods without medication due to poverty and homelessness.
The doctors can not explain exactly how the cure came about but they hope that this breakthrough will pave the way for conclusive research into the effective treatment and cure of HIV/AIDS. The young patient has tested negative for the virus ten months after terminating the drug therapy.
In the United States of America, the health care system is reliable and well-established. As such, few babies are born with the deadly virus compared to other developing nations. Studies into this cure would far more benefit those developing countries.
It’s interesting to note that there have been three other reported incidents of patients cured of HIV. These were among adults where a cure is believed to be even further out of reach because by the time most adults become aware of their HIV positive status, they have already had it for a long period and it has formed a “reservoir” in the body. Timothy Brown was the first adult male to be confirmed free of HIV after receiving treatment for leukemia. A bone marrow transplant seems to have literally flushed the virus out of his system. Studies are in full force to develop effective and stable cures for both young and old HIV/AIDS patients.