UNAIDS welcomes news of a child who appears "functionally cured" of HIV

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UNAIDS, the United Nations agency dealing with HIV and AIDS, has welcomed the news that a child who was born with the HIV virus now appears to have been "functionally cured".

According to researchers,  the mother who was living with HIV, prematurely gave birth to the baby in July 2010 in the state of Mississippi in the United States.

The child was then immediately given a strong dose of anti-retroviral treatment which continued until 18 months of age.

When she was seen by media professionals about a half a year later, blood samples revealed undetectable HIV levels and no HIV-specific antibodies.

Karusa Kiragu a  UNAIDS’s Senior Prevention Adviser says more information is needed since the researchers says the baby is "functionally cured".

"I think we need to determine or we need to learn from researchers what they have defined ‘functionally cured’ to be but what I have understood it to be is that the virus is no longer circulating in the child's body and for all intents and purposes the child is considered HIV free. Now the question could be is it in places  where it cannot be found. I don't know. I am not sure that we have the answer to that. I think it raises very interesting questions as to what might be going on even if the child is healthy and is not on treatment but it's a virus somewhere else where we might not be able to identify." (39″)

UNAIDS says this news gives hope that a cure for HIV in children and could bring us one step closer to an AIDS free generation.

In 2011, UNAIDS and its partners launched a Global plan for the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive.

Gerry Adams, United Nations.

Duration: 1'55"

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