An infant born in rural Mississipi has been “functionally cured” of H.I.V. after aggressive antiretroviral treatment only 30 hours after birth. The success of the treatment is considered to be a major breakthrough for HIV/AIDS treatment because it is the first to cure an individual of the virus without the use of H.I.V. resistant bone marrow.
Although the number of children born with H.I.V. has dropped significantly in the U.S. in recent years, aggressive treatment for infants will have a big impact in developing countries, where an estimated 1000 babies are born each day with HIV. If early cure tactics prove to be successful in other patients, it could help the 330,000 babies born with H.I.V. each year, especially as the treatment becomes more cost-effective.
How could treating infants early help prevent the spread of H.I.V.? Is there a way to make these drugs more affordable? Could the United States see an AIDS-free generation?
Michael Gottlieb, MD, a practicing physician and immunologist who is credited with being one of the authors of the first report to the CDC identifying AIDS as a new disease in 1981