A Very Promising Development: South-African Girl Born HIV-Positive Lives Healthy Without Drugs

Image via Medical News Today and Science

A South African girl, born seropositive, has lived for almost nine years in good health without medication, after simply taking a treatment during her first months of existence, tells a study published on Monday.

These cases of remission without life-long treatment are rare and still unexplained. It is only the third case ever observed in a child, emphasizes this study presented at the international conference of research on the AIDS in Paris.

“This new case strengthens our hope that by treating HIV-infected children for a brief period beginning in infancy, we may be able to spare them the burden of life-long therapy,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the American Institute of Allergy And Infectious Diseases (NIAID) via Daily Sabah.

“A relapse is always possible, as in any remission. The fact that this remission has spread over such a long period suggests that it can be sustainable,” said another study author, Dr. Avy Violari of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg via Indian Express.

From the age of two months, this girl was placed under Anti-retroviral (ARV) treatments, which prevent the development of the AIDS virus. After 10 months, treatment was deliberately stopped in the study, while the presence of the virus had been reduced to an undetectable level.

Eight years and nine months later, the HIV virus is still dormant in this little girl, although she does not follow treatment.

This is not a cure because HIV is always present. But it is so weakened that it can neither multiply nor be transmitted to another person, even in the absence of treatment.

Normally, a life-long treatment is required to achieve these effects.