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US Baby Functionally Cured of HIV Will Not Lead to a Change in South Africa’s Health Policies

A Kinship of BonesAfrican Responses to HIV/AIDSNews that a baby born in Mississippi has now been functionally cured of HIV was met with great enthusiasm by researchers and media around the world, although there is still much research that needs to be done.

Katherine Child from The Times spoke to Dr Harry Moultrie from the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Research Institute who commented that this is an isolated case and more testing is needed, adding that “the study would not impact on policy in South Africa in which each year, only 13 000, babies are born positive thanks to South Africa’s prevention of mother-to-child programme.”

Marissa Fessenden from Scientific American also highlighted the unique nature of the case, which entailed the mother only finding out she was HIV positive just before she gave birth.

An American baby has been cured of HIV, but it will have little effect on South Africa’s health policy where mother to child transmission of HIV continues to plummet. The baby girl was born in 2010 to an HIV positive to a Mississippi mother, who was only diagnosed HIV+ just before giving birth, the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta was told yesterday.

A child born to an HIV-infected mother in Mississippi may be cured after a swiftly administered course of drugs. A number of factors make the child’s case unique, however, and clinicians caution that we have not discovered a general cure for HIV yet. Still, the medical first may hint at ways to fight the AIDS-causing virus.

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