A little girl born with HIV has been cured of the disease, doctors report. At birth she was diagnosed with HIV, but at 2-and-a-half years, after treatment with anti-virals she is healthy and her blood is clear of HIV antibodies.
She's only the second person in the world ever to be cured. The first was a man in Germany cured by a bone-marrow transplant - which effectively replaced his immune system. That treatment is expensive and not easy to replicate on a large scale. But the little girl was treated with readily-available anti-viral drugs.
After the girl was born to a mom in Mississippi, she was diagnosed as HIV positive within 30 hours of birth and given anti-viral treatment within 31 hours - much sooner than usual. Normally doctors wait 6 weeks until the until the baby's HIV status can be proven before starting treatment. The little girl also received a much higher-than-usual dose of anti-virals. Doctors think both the high dose and the timing could have contributed to the cure.
What does the case mean for public health? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the government agency the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the case could change the way doctors treat babies born to mothers with HIV or AIDS.
The research into the baby's cure was funded by the US National Institutes of Health (a government agency) and the American Foundation for AIDS Research (a private foundation).