Reports of a Mississippi infant who had been "cured" of HIV dominated news coverage during early March 2013. The infant girl was born in rural Mississippi in July 2010 to a mother who did not receive prenatal care or HIV treatment. Doctors began administering powerful antiretrovirals to the child only hours after she was born. The child remained on HIV meds for approximately 15 months before she and her mother were lost to care for more than half a year, and the little girl is now believed to be "functionally cured" -- the presence of the virus is so minute that lifelong treatment is not necessary.
The pediatric "functional cure" has renewed focus on the so-called HIV "cure" agenda. Only days after the pediatric case made international news, French investigators reported their "functional cure" of 14 patients. These follow the widely reported case of Timothy R. Brown -- the so-called "Berlin patient" -- who doctors said was "cured" of HIV via a radical stem cell transplant. Researchers hope that the Mississippi and French cases will yield some broader implications for treating people living with HIV/AIDS.
Rod McCullom has written and produced for ABC News, NBC and FOX, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, EBONY, POZ and many others. Read his blog at Rod 2.0.
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