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Cured from HIV? Child born with virus no longer infected

11:43 PM, Mar 3, 2013   |    comments
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St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - Cured from HIV, doctors say they've cured a toddler from her virus and saved her from a life of daily medication and treatment.

So, what does this mean for the millions that are living with HIV?

Well, this is not a cure for everyone living with the virus, but this does help our future generations.

"It means that we will have zero new children born with HIV," says project manager for the St. Louis Efforts for Aids, Steve Houldsworth.

He says 30 years ago this even seemed close to impossible.

"If you got HIV it was practically a death sentence and its just not that way anymore," says Houldsworth.

He is at an industry conference in Atlanta, where Sunday it was announced that doctors in Mississippi have saved a child who was born with HIV.

By giving the little girl full treatment just 30 hours after being born when the virus hadn't fully taken over the whole body, the doctor created what they call a "functional cure."

"That child now will never have to be on HIV medications and the HIV proteins that exist in their body will have no negative effects on them," he says.

Now at 21/2 years old, doctors say the little girl appears to be virus free, with levels "undetectable."

"For me and for other adults living with HIV it doesn't mean a whole lot," says Aaron Laxton, who was diagnosed June 6th 2011.

He started treatment just four weeks later and explains that while this study proves to help infants born infected, it does nothing for those living with it for in come cases years.

"Most patients are not going to be diagnosed that soon after infection and so it's not practical that we are going to start treatment that soon," says Laxton.

Regardless Laxton says it's exciting news to hear and knows that they are getting closer and closer to a cure.

"If I remain medicated and and I am compliant with the anti-retrovirals that I am on, then I can have a healthy life," says Laxton.

Laxton says this is a great boost to research, but realistically of the nearly 1.2 million infected in the United States only two have been cured.

 

KSDK

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