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Mississippi Baby Cured of HIV

Child born with HIV is apparently cured of the virus after early treatment.

A baby born with HIV appears to have been cured from the virus that causes AIDS, officials announced Monday.

The baby from Mississippi is now 2 1/2 years old and has been off the intense medication regimen for about a year, containing no signs of the infection.

The doctor's treatment for the baby was stronger and faster than HIV is usually treated, beginning with a three-drug infusion while the baby was less than 30 hours old. This was administered before tests confirmed that the infant was infected rather than just a risk.

The quick decision seemed to have eliminated HIV from the baby's blood before forming more permanent places in the body. These reservoirs of dormant cells normally quickly reinfect anyone after stopping medication, said Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Persaud led the research deeming the child as "functionally cured". Her team is now planning a study, attempting to prove that with the aggressive treatment of other high-risk babies, they will find similar results.

Rather than treating babies, it is more important to prevent the infants from being born with HIV.

In mostly poor countries, only about 60 percent of infected pregnant women get treated to prevent passing the virus to their babies. In the U.S., such births are rare and prevented because HIV testing and treatment in mothers have been a part of prenatal care.

In the case of the Mississippi baby, the mother arrived at a rural emergency room in advanced labor without any prenatal care. The small facility did not have the proper materials for treatment and sent the family to Gay's Medical Center where her baby received the intense treatment.

The child responded well through 18 months of treatment until the family stopped coming for treatment. After the family returned several months later, standard tests showed there was remarkably no detection of the virus in the child's blood.

A battery of super-sensitive tests in 6 different laboratories found no sign of the virus ten months after the treatment ended. Remnants of the genetic material is the only thing that prevails. According to Persaud, it does not appear to be able to replicate.

If the child remains healthy, this will be only the second reported cure in the world.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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