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Mississippi Child Functionally Cured Of HIV
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Story By: Larry Stine



  Originally Published on: 3/4/2013

On Sunday researchers from Johns Hopkins announced that a toddler in Mississippi is the first child to be "functionally cured" of HIV.

Andrew Spencer explains what that means and the impact this medical breakthrough may have on pediatric AIDS research.

The girl was born in Mississippi to an HIV positive mother who had no prenatal care.

Within 30 hours of her birth, Dr. Hannah Gay, a pediatric HIV specialist, gave the infant relatively high doses of three anti-viral drugs.

"I drew tests just as they started those drugs, and two different types of tests showed me within the next couple of days that the baby was already infected," say Dr. Gay.

The child remained on the drug regimen for some 15 months, then Dr. Gay lost touch with the mother.

What happened later got the medical community's attention.

"The mom admitted she had not been giving the medicine for the past several months, and I fully expected the baby's viral load to have gone back up. But when we drew the test, we got back still an undetectable viral load," says Dr. Gay.

Researcher say the chold is functionally cured.

That means the presence of the virus is so amall, clinical tests cannot detect it in the blood.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins announced, Sunday, early intervention was key to this outcome.

They believe this will help them cure other infected babies of HIV.

"We think we can build upon that platform. What this case provided us is that we can use the currently FDA-approved drugs for treating infection in infants to really begin to replicate this finding," says Dr. Deborah Persaud, of Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

This is not the first documented case of an HIV cure.

In 2007,Timothy Brown, an HIV positive man battling Leukemia and HIV, was cured of both after he received a bone marrow transplant.

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