The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) is applauding news of an infant being cured of HIV following a period of antiretroviral treatment that started within the first 30 hours of life.
Announced at the 20th annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Atlanta, the news is indicative of the continuing progress made by researchers and advocates in creating an AIDS-free generation.
"This case further shows the potential for curing HIV infection in children and adults, which raises the potential for eradicating HIV infection globally," said Nick Hellmann, executive vice president for medical and scientific affairs at EGPAF. "It is critical to quickly and thoroughly examine this case and identify other similar cases to determine how the lessons learned can maximally benefit HIV-infected children."
Led by researcher Deborah Persaud, winner of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation Scientist award in 2005, the study followed a Mississippi infant with a confirmed HIV diagnosis who received antiretroviral medications within 30 hours following birth. Now 26 months old, the baby shows no evidence of infection and is functionally cured of HIV.
Charles Lyons, president and CEO of EGPAF, said that the news was extremely encouraging. "This news is proof positive of just how close we are to the end of pediatric HIV and the elimination of AIDS. But important challenges remain - millions of children still lack access to the medications they need to stay healthy, and mothers around the world still need the treatments necessary to give birth to HIV-negative babies."
Globally, 900 babies are born HIV-positive each day. If not treated, infants infected at birth have a 50 percent risk of dying by their second birthday.