Posted at: 03/04/2013 6:58 PM
By: Brittany Lewis
Doctors: Child Cured of HIV
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It’s a potentially huge medical discovery. Doctors say a Mississippi baby born with HIV has been functionally cured. If the child remains healthy, it would mark just the second time a person has been cured of HIV.
"We have perhaps inadvertently but in fact, cured the child,” said Dr. Hannah Gay.
That child was diagnosed with HIV at birth to a mother who did not receive prenatal care or HIV treatment. Just 30 hours after being born, the baby was put on three aggressive drugs and was treated until 12 to 15 months of age.
At that point, the doctors lost contact with the mother and the baby stopped receiving the treatment. At 23 months, the baby returned for care and the HIV was undetectable.
Surprising even to the doctor that cared for her, "My first thought was to panic. I thought, oh my goodness, I have been treating a child that's not infected,” said Gay.
"My first thought was, I scratched my head and said, what do they mean by cured,” said Bill Tiedemann.
Tiedemann is the Executive Director for the Minnesota Aids Project, an organization fighting to stop HIV in Minnesota.
"We're very excited about this information. We just hope that it continues, that research continues, and we do actually find another tool to assist us in decreasing transmission from mother to child,” said Tiedemann.
He says there hasn’t been a case of HIV transmission from mother to child in Minnesota for several years, adding that one of the best ways to prevent transmission is early testing.
"We have an incredible tool in our toolbox now which is first off testing and if we do find the pregnant female to be positive, there are interventions that begin in second trimester that will decrease or possibly eliminate an HIV transmission,” said Tiedemann.
Hoping that further testing, proves there is a cure.
"There certainly has to be more research done, there needs to be further testing done for this child in Mississippi. My hope is that this or her virus doesn't replicate and that we actually do have a functional cure for this baby would be great,” said Tiedemann.
Doctors say the aggressive medication used with this child could be the difference maker. This case is expected to be discussed more at a medical conference in Atlanta.