At the 2013 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta today, Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins University announced that a two-year child in Mississippi had been cured of HIV.
The child had stopped taking antiviral medications at 18 months but was brought back into treatment at 23 months. Once back in treatment, the child's viral load was unnoticeable, and follow-up tests showed that the disease was no longer present.
Dr. Persaud is a grantee with amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, and was able to work on the case thanks to a grant she received with fellow physician Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga of the University of Massachusetts in September.
“We are proud to have played a leading role in bringing this first pediatric HIV cure to light,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. “The case is a startling reminder that a cure for HIV could come in ways we never anticipated, and we hope this is the first of many children cured of HIV in the months and years to come.”
This is the second documented case of someone being cured of HIV. The only other case was "Berlin patient" Timothy Brown, who underwent a stem cell treatment for leukemia that ended up eradicating his HIV.
On Tuesday, Brown released a statement about the cure on behalf of his HIV-fighting organization, The Timothy Ray Brown Foundation.
“Yesterday the world learned that an HIV-positive baby in Mississippi may have been cured of HIV. It is hard for me to put in words how happy and emotional I am right now, knowing that a child may be cured, too. This strongly reinforces how immediate the need is to fulfill my foundation’s sole mission: to do everything possible to advance AIDS cure-related research. I want to see everyone, young and old, who is living with this dreaded disease to be cured. I am committing my body, mind and soul to this mission.”