Half of Global HIV-Positive Population Undergoing Treatment

Half of Global HIV-Positive Population Undergoing Treatment

Half of Global HIV-Positive Population Undergoing Treatment

"It's a case that raises more questions than it necessarily answers", said Linda-Gail Bekker, president of the International AIDS Society, during the conference in Paris.

The case of a South African child infected with HIV at birth who is now in remission has raised new hopes for all the other children born with the virus.

For the next eight years the child didn't receive any antiretroviral medicine, but a follow-up analysis of stored blood samples taken during the interim showed that the virus had not returned.

In a separate comment piece discussing the research, Mark Boyd and David Cooper from the University of New South Wales say that the results "merit close attention", although there is still work to be done.

Figures by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a California-based health policy NGO, also estimated that the reduction of budget by U.S. president Donald Trump could lead to almost 200,000 new HIV infections.

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Now, she is nine years old and received 40 weeks of antiretroviral therapy (ART) as a baby before doctors stopped all the treatments to see if her immune system would fend off the infection on its own.

Though early anti-retroviral therapy was not standard practice at the time, it was given to the child from nine weeks old as part of a clinical trial.

In 2010, a child born with HIV in the United States received treatment that started soon after birth and ended 18 months later.

Commenting on the case of the South African baby, Dr Avy Violari, the head of paediatric research at the Perinal HIV Research Unit in Johannesburg, said, "We don't believe that antiretroviral therapy alone can lead to remission".

Since the epidemic erupted in the 1980s, 76.1-million people have been infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

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"This is really the first step toward HIV remission and a cure", according to virologist Deborah Persaud with the Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore.

Still, the child is not cured of HIV.

The early therapy, which attacks the virus before it has a chance to fully establish itself, has been implicated in child "cure" cases twice before as the starting point on when the patient may have likely gotten cured of HIV. When the drug treatment ended, the virus was undetectable in has blood - and has since remained so without the child having to take anymore of these drugs. In one of such cases, a baby from MS, who was given the medications for first 18 months, stayed in remission for 27 months without medication, but the virus later returned.

A second child living in France has lived 11 years without needing further treatment. There is no HIV infection, but advanced testing techniques have been able to detect a reservoir of virus integrated inside a tiny proportion of immune cells.

None had the rare mutation, known as delta 32, that produces immune system cells lacking the receptors to which HIV attaches. In a study sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the girl began taking HIV drugs when she was only two months old.

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