Three years ago, just 30 hours after her birth, doctors gave a newborn girl high doses of three antiretroviral drugs designed to treat her HIV infection. Although she has been off the medication for almost two years, the girl’s infection has yet to resurface – a fact that scientists are calling a breakthrough in HIV treatment.
Now, a second child’s success is pointing toward a possible HIV cure, raising hope that this potentially fatal STD won’t continue to be spread during birth.
How did doctors come upon this treatment? Here are all the details about the promising HIV cure.
Have Doctors Discovered an HIV Cure?
The First Successful Case
When the first successfully treated baby was born in Mississippi, doctors weren’t aware that her mother was HIV-positive. She hadn’t received any prenatal care, and thus hadn’t undergone any treatment for HIV to prevent the spread of antibodies to her fetus. Still, by administering the antiretroviral drugs soon after her birth and continuing treatment through her 15th month, doctors were able to eliminate the disease from her system.
The second child was delivered in Long Beach, California last summer. Her HIV-positive month had not received any antiretroviral drugs in her pregnancy. Doctors administered high doses of AZT, 3TC, and Nevirapine to the newborn just four hours after her birth, and only 11 days later no traces of HIV were found in her system. Now 8 months later, there are still no signs that the child has HIV. She is currently still taking antiretroviral drugs, so it remains to be seen whether she is actually in remission.
The Future of the HIV Cure?
With two children now successfully treated by this seeming HIV cure, doctors are excited about the prospect of applying the treatment to other babies born with HIV. Still, before treatment becomes widespread and it is officially declared an HIV cure, more research needs to be done on this revolutionary method. Doctors need to test the treatment further in a clinical trial setting, which would involve removing the children from antiretroviral treatment after birth to verify whether immediate post-natal treatment was enough to establish true remission from HIV.
One such clinical trial is scheduled to begin in April 2014. In this study, HIV-positive infants will start a combination of antiretroviral therapy just 48 hours after birth, then monitored to verify the success of treatment. Doctors hope to confirm that very early treatment of HIV can eradicate the disease, essentially serving as an HIV cure for infants born with the disease.
Monitor Your Sexual Health, Protect Your Baby
This potential HIV cure could change the way medical professionals approach HIV treatment — not just in infants, but in adults, too. For now, the best way to ensure your health and help prevent the spread of STDs is to get yourself tested regularly, including HIV testing and comprehensive STD testing. ARCpoint Labs facilities nationwide offer walk-in STD testing that’s always convenient, reliable, and confidential.
To get started on your STD testing, find your nearest ARCpoint Labs today!