News that a Mississippi baby born with HIV was cured of the virus made for a huge scientific breakthrough, and now comes a report that the child was never infected. Newly released information about the child’s status was unveiled at an annual HIV conference in Atlanta, last week.
The Wall Street Journal reports that researchers presented their findings to more than 4,000 convention attendees. As previously stated, the baby was born to an HIV-positive mother, and received aggressive treatment one day after birth, for 18 months. Both mother and baby disappeared for five months, with no access to the medication. Upon their return, the baby was found to not have the virus, but it seems that use of the word “cure,” may have been premature.
After the presentation, researchers answered questions from the audience. It was concluded that no traces of the virus were found after running extensive test, however, the child was only “exposed” to HIV, possibly while traveling through the birth canal. Treatment halted transmission, by insuring that the virus was never able to penetrate the baby’s immune system.
Although it may have been distorted, the baby’s story does provide for a breakthrough in that the medicine has proven itself to help prevent pregnant HIV-positive women from passing the virus on to an unborn child.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the number of women increased to 8,7000, in 2006. Cases in the Black community counted for the highest HIV rate per 100,000 live births each year, among those prenatally infected from 2007-2009.
Photo: Mike Groll/AP