South African Child "Functionally Cured" Of HIV For Nine Years

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The team hope that by studying the child further, they can expand their knowledge of how to coax the body into controlling and fighting the virus.

Born in South Africa, the child was part of a trial in 2007, during he and 142 other babies received a short course of antiretroviral drugs over 40 weeks.

In Viet Nam, of the 70 per cent of people living with HIV who know their HIV status, one third is not on HIV treatment yet.

The child has not required medication ever since.

The annual rate of new HIV infections ("HIV incidence") among adults ages 15 years and older was 1.36 percent: 1.70 percent among females and 1.02 percent among males. But there was a huge surprise for subjects whose remission lasted longer, he said, with several children not needing to return for two or more years after 96 weeks of treatment.

Once this was achieved, some continued taking oral treatment as maintenance while the rest were shifted onto the prototype, injectable ARV, administered every four or eight weeks.

It also showed the world is on track to reach global targets for reducing AIDS deaths and HIV treatment access by 2020. "The people who are infected today will need therapy for the next 30 to 50 years, so the science of treatment has to evolve - and the science of prevention has to evolve as well to stop the pool of patients growing". However, we still do not have a complete cure for this virus as the immune system simply can not detect the dormant HIV that hides in the cells. "Relapse is a possibility in any case of remission", underlined study co-leader Avy Violari, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg said.

Last month, public health experts predicted HIV could soon be "eliminated" after infections in gay men declined for the first time since the epidemic was originally recorded in the early 1980s. Dr. Tiemessen is head of cell biology at the Centre of HIV and STIs of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Johannesburg.

In the United States, the so-called Mississippi Baby was in remission for 27 months after being given ART for the first 18 months of life, but the virus rebounded in a major let-down for researchers.

Daily pills may become a thing of the past for people who have HIV. "If in this moment we don't figure this out and really get these programs to scale, we're not going to have the impact on the epidemic we were hoping to have", said Deborah Birx from the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, according to CGTN America.

The team in Johannesburg performed the study alongside the UK's MRC Clinical Trials Unit. The EPIICAL Consortium funded the recent analysis of viral load in stored blood samples from the children who participated in CHER.

"These promising. data, together with advances from many other investigators in the field, support a new sense of optimism that development of an HIV vaccine might in fact be possible", he told journalists at an HIV science conference organised by the International AIDS Society (IAS). That's 53 percent of all infections worldwide.

Additional details on SHIMS2 are available in the summary sheet released by the Swaziland Ministry of Health and the websites for the Ministry of Health http://www.gov.sz, CDC/PEPFAR http://www.cdc.gov and http://www.pepfar.gov, and ICAPs PHIA Project: phia.icap.columbia.edu.

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