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Mississippi Girl Thought Cured of HIV Shows Signs of Infection
Date:7/11/2014

e a reservoir in her body in which dormant HIV could hide and later reignite when she stopped taking medication.

"The fact that this child was able to remain off antiretroviral treatment for two years and maintain quiescent virus for that length of time is unprecedented," said Dr. Deborah Persaud, a professor of infectious diseases at the John Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore and one of the two pediatric HIV experts involved in the ongoing analysis of the case. "Typically, when treatment is stopped, HIV levels rebound within weeks, not years."

Fauci said Thursday that this early treatment "did not completely eliminate the reservoir of HIV-infected cells that was established upon infection, but may have considerably limited its development and averted the need for antiretroviral medication over a considerable period."

"Now we must direct our attention to understanding why that is and determining whether the period of sustained remission in the absence of therapy can be prolonged even further," he concluded.

The girl's pediatrician, Dr. Hannah Gay, of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, launched HIV treatment just 30 hours following the girl's birth.

Doctors normally put HIV-positive mothers on two antiretroviral medications prior to birth as a way of preventing transmission of the virus to their unborn children. After delivery, doctors test the newborns for HIV and continue treatment if the virus appears.

But in this girl's case, no one knew the mother was HIV-positive before delivery. This prompted Gay to put the newborn on antiretroviral treatment immediately, and that timing appears to have made a difference.

Gay also chose to employ a combination of three antiretroviral drugs, all at doses commonly used to treat HIV-infected infants, and kept the girl on the medications until she was 18 months old. This prevented the virus from mounting any drug resistance.

Tests showed progressively diminishing HIV
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