A young girl who was once believed to be cured of the HIV virus, is once more HIV positive. It was around three years ago when that child, age 18 months, who had been infected with the HIV virus was said to have been cured by an aggressive HIV cocktail drug treatment and was free of the virus. The medical broadcast took the whole world by storm and doctors who had been involved with her care and therapy hoped this was the start of a brand new medical treatment for anyone born with the HIV virus. Regrettably it has been recently revealed that the girl, who is now age 4, is again HIV positive.
The child, who resides in Mississippi, had stopped taking any medication after physicians could not find any hint of HIV in her body. However during a recent checkup, the HIV was again detectable in her system. She also had a diminished white blood cell count and HIV antibodies were present. These are each tell-tale signs that HIV is present and duplicating inside a human body.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the director for the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke about the state of affairs, and said that it was a disappointing turn of events for the child, the medical staff which had been involved in the care of the child and also the entire HIV/AIDS study community. Logically such a development reminds everyone that there is still much to learn about the complexities of HIV infection and where the virus hides out inside the body.
That is very true indeed. There is so much that researchers still do not know about HIV. They have an extremely long way before they are able to claim any sort of victory over this terrible virus. They must keep working at it.
The child’s physicians first had to be absolutely sure the HIV virus they were picking up was truly the same HIV infection that the young girl had before she had been professed as being free of HIV. They tested her and indeed it was. The child contracted the virus during the time of her birth from her mother who did not realize that she herself was infected. Doctors have put the young girl back on her antiretroviral therapy which seems to be working for her without giving her any known side effects.
Even though it is not a comprehensive victory, what the physicians did was a start. The point that the young child was able to stay off her HIV medications for two full years is nothing short of amazing. Most usually whenever treatment is stationary, that is when HIV levels begin to increase within just a few weeks, not years like the levels did with the little girl.
The news of the little girl being cured took the whole world by storm and doctors who had been involved with her care and therapy hoped this was the start of a brand new medical treatment for anyone born with the HIV virus. Regrettably it has been recently revealed that the girl, who is now age 4, is once more HIV positive.
By Kimberly Ruble
The Wall Street Journal