With the proper medication, the transmission of HIV between a pregnant mother and her child can be reduced by a staggering 98 percent. This requires a big course of preventative drugs for both the parent and the infant, during and after pregnancy. However, in a lot of places, those drugs are not available, or not in supplies high enough to protect both parties. In the case of one child born in Mississippi, the mother didn’t even know she had HIV until the disease showed up in a test administered during labor. However, doctors promptly administered medicine and have apparently cured a child born with HIV.
“Now, after at least one year of taking no medicine, this child’s blood remains free of virus even on the most sensitive tests available,” said Dr. Hannah Gay of the University of Mississippi, who treated the child. “We expect that this baby has great chances for a long, healthy life. We are certainly hoping that this approach could lead to the same outcome in many other high-risk babies.”
Within 30 hours of birth, doctors began administering an aggressive dosage of antiviral medication to the child and within a month of beginning therapy, the child’s HIV levels had fallen so low that they were rendered undetectable with standard tests. Now, after five months with absolutely no medication, therapy, or treatment of any kind, it appears that the child continues to register with no HIV virus in his bloodstream. It looks as though they cured his HIV, though he’ll still probably always be a potential carrier. Then again, if they give him a stem cell transplant, maybe they can completely wipe out his HIV.
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