MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

First ever documented case of HIV remission in a child

A study recently reported the first ever documented case of HIV remission in a child, a three-year-old born with HIV who is now free of active infection.

"Our findings suggest that this child's remission is not a mere fluke but the likely result of aggressive and very early therapy that may have prevented the virus from taking a hold in the child's immune cells," Deborah Persaud, lead author of the report and a virologist and pediatric HIV expert at the John Hopkins Children's Center, said.

The child, from Mississippi, was born to an HIV-infected mother and began receiving antiretroviral treatment 30 hours after birth. The child stopped receiving medication at 18 months of age and 18 months later, researchers still have not seen a return of infection.

"We're thrilled that the child remains off medication and has no detectable virus replicating," Pediatrician Hannah Gay said. "We've continued to follow the child, obviously, and she continues to do very well. There is no sign of the return of HIV, and we will continue to follow her for the long term."

Researchers still consider preventing HIV transmission from mother-to-child the most effective form of prevention. The study findings do, however, suggest that beginning HIV treatment within the first few days of life may eliminate the disease from the child permanently if mother-to-child transmission does occur.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.