The Baby Cured of HIV?
Mar 17, 2013
I'm the mother of two adopted sisters. We live in Africa. The younger child originally tested positive for HIV--we don't know at what age or how good the test was--but when we had her tested at age 3 1/2 she was negative. We had the test repeated 3 times over a period of 6 months and were overjoyed that they continued to be negative. She had not received any ARV. We had the older sister (age 7) tested again and she remains positive. I did quite a bit of research trying to understand how this could happen and, from what I could tell, it seems that the tests are not entirely reliable for children during the first 18 months of life and/or they sometimes clear the disease. In our case, given the medical system here, the original test may have been inaccurate but it makes me wonder about the news regarding the baby "cured" in the US. Would you comment? Many thanks and also thanks for the extraordinarily helpful information I've learned from being a regular reader of The Body!
Response from Dr. Holodniy
You don't indicate what specific HIV tests were performed. It is not uncommon for children to have positive HIV antibody tests for months after birth and not be HIV infected. That is because these antibodies are passed to the fetus during pregnancy from the HIV infected mother. Confirmation of infection in these cases requires a HIV viral load or HIV DNA test, which indicates that the virus is present and not antibodies.
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