The New England Journal of Medicine reported yesterday on the case of an baby born in Mississippi to an HIV-positive mother. After testing positive for HIV as well, the baby began anti-retroviral therapy shortly after birth and stayed on the drugs for 18 months. Now 30 months old, the child is still off all medications, and continues to test negative for HIV.
The doctors say that by starting therapy right after birth, they believe they were able to prevent the growth of viral “hideouts”–where HIV lurks dormant in immune cells, popping back up as soon as antiretroviral treatment stops. This case will be the basis of a broader study on the early treatment of HIV-infected newborns starting early next year.
The exciting news follows reports earlier this summer of two adult patients going into remission from HIV following bone marrow transplants. Fewer than 200 children were born with HIV in the U.S. in 2010, the last year for which numbers are available.AK