Doctors Say They've 'Cured' A Baby Born with AIDS

Monday, March 04, 2013

needle (Steven DePolo/flickr)

A baby has been effectively cured of an infection of the AIDS virus, a disease that has shown itself to be frighteningly resilient in the face of human ingenuity. The virus has apparently been thwarted by a little baby and its doctors in Mississippi. The baby is the second known case of an HIV-infected human found later to be free of the virus.

It is technically a cure, but doctors are being cautious. This baby was born of an H.I.V. AIDS-infected mother and was aggressively treated with anti-retroviral drugs from early after birth. Can there be treatment lessons here? Is this a clue pointing toward ways to thwart AIDS in the general population? 

Dr. Kenneth Mayer, medical research director at Fenway Health, speaks to The Takeaway from Atlanta where these results are being made public this week.

According to Mayer, the baby was born to a mother who was not aware that she was infected with H.I.V. and had not received pre-natal care of any kind. Given the circumstances, the doctor made the decision to begin aggressively treating the baby for H.I.V./AIDS within the first 30 hours of life, before knowing for sure if he or she was infected. 

Mayer says there is convincing evidence that the infant was infected at the time of birth: "What sort of nailed the diagnosis was doing both RNA and DNA tests using a very sensitive technique called PCR, so that suggested that there was active virus inside the child's body at the time of delivery."

The infant is now two-years-old and tests negative for H.I.V. "It's an exciting case but there are a number of questions," Mayer says. "Can you generalize from infants to adults? Is this something that is going to be immediately relevant for adults? We don’t know the answer to that yet."

"We wouldn’t be having this discussion if the mother had been on anti-retroviral medication," According to Mayer. "The best thing we can do is have women know their H.I.V. status and take medication and that will protect the infant from becoming infected."


Dr. Kenneth Mayer

Comments [6]

sandra allen from tx

Truly was tested HIV positive 2001 and since then i have been battling with this sickness, not until i came across this testimony online about this spiritual healer and decide to try it out. after taking his medication for two weeks, i receive and email from him i should go for test and to God grace i was tested HIV negative, all the illness was gone, you too can contact him via email. for cure

Nov. 04 2013 12:48 AM
Ed from Larchmont

If we want to decrease AIDS, one thing we could do would be to discourage same-sex activity between men. But our society is going directly in the opposite direction.

Mar. 04 2013 03:26 PM
Paul from NY

Charles, there are precautions and specific techniques that can be taken during the delivery process that greatly reduce the likelyhood the child will be exposed to the HIV virus from the mother(such as a ceasarian delivery and use of certain anti HIV meds before delivery). The reason these are not used for every delivery is that is would be extremely expensive and close to 20% of deliveries in the US occur in women whose first visit to a doctor is during the delivery itself and by that point these many of these preventive techniques are often ineffective.

Mar. 04 2013 03:12 PM
Patrick from Nashville, TN

I'm not sure if I am reading this correctly. There is a big difference between HIV infection, and AIDS. If the mother did not know, how did the doctors know? Was she ill, have PCP pneumonia? T-cell count under 200? Living with AIDS most people know and are ill at that point. If there is a cure I wish I knew more.

Mar. 04 2013 02:22 PM

There was an odd moment in the interview. At one point, Dr. Mayer suggested that there had been a decrease in HIV-positive births "due to increased detection."

I wondered how increased "detection" would lower the number of HIV-positive births. The only answer I could think of, was that HIV-positive fetuses were being aborted after "detection."

Is there another answer that I am not getting?

Mar. 04 2013 11:30 AM
Zach from Oklahoma

AIDS regime? Really? It's not FOX news. I know everyone makes mistakes, but you're getting into Bush-ism territory.

Mar. 04 2013 10:36 AM

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