For first time, over half of people with HIV taking AIDS drugs

Wednesday, 26 Jul, 2017

Conference on HIV Science set to be held in Paris from July 23 - 26, as well as last week's United Nations report saying, for the first time in the fight against AIDS, related deaths nearly halved since 2005, advocates are still anxious about what President Donald Trump's proposed budget cuts would mean for the future of global HIV programs.

Mother-to-child preventative treatment has reduced the rate of South African children born HIV-positive to less than 2% of all babies born to HIV-positive mothers. Still off medications, the girl has yet not showed any symptoms of AIDS eight years and nine months after the treatment, the research team at International AIDS Society conference on HIV science in Paris said.

'For these people, getting their HIV treatment through a monthly injection, rather than daily pills, could be life-changing and could mean they are more likely to stay well and to remain uninfectious'. In the child's case, the child miraculously responded to the treatments that were given to her since her birth.

The child's immune system has been healthy ever since receiving a short course of treatment in early age making him the first reported case of a child controlling their HIV infection without drugs in Africa, CNN reported.

The youngster was first enrolled in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)-funded Children with HIV Early Antiretroviral Therapy (CHER) clinical trial in 2007. Scientists and doctors, however, have yet to understand why and how the 40-week treatment (which was also given to 142 other children) worked for this child, whose identity remains anonymous.

The report notes that about three-quarters of pregnant women with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, now have access to medicines to prevent them from passing it to their babies.

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A nine-year-old child has been virtually cured of HIV, scientists claimed yesterday. If other countries worldwide were to fully achieve the 90-90-90 targets, it would translate into 73 per cent of all people living with HIV worldwide being virally suppressed. In one of such cases, a baby from MS, who was given the medications for first 18 months, stayed in remission for 27 months without medication, but the virus later returned.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health is now conducting a trial to test whether giving ART to HIV-infected babies within 48 hours of birth leads to long-term control of the virus after treatment is stopped.

Beyond that, the team hopes that further research might be able to highlight what it is about the child's physiology that led to such a successful treatment - especially since they don't think early ART by itself can explain the result here.

According to the NIH, the South African child presented very high levels of HIV in the blood before treatment, however, the virus has been supressed to undetectable levels.

This is not strictly a "cure" as HIV is able to lay dormant inside the human body without detection for long periods of time, before returning, and the virus has been detected in the child's immune cells.

None had the rare mutation, known as delta 32, that produces immune system cells lacking the receptors to which HIV attaches.