Health Care

South African child has controlled HIV off treatment for 8.5 years

South African child has controlled HIV off treatment for 8.5 years”

It comes amid reports that a South African girl has shown no signs of the virus rebounding despite being taken off drugs years ago. Testing at 9.5 years of age shows that HIV is still undetectable and that the number of cells containing HIV DNA - the viral reservoir - has not changed since stopping treatment.

The worldwide study conducted in the US, Germany, Canada, Spain, France and Germany found that the two-monthly injections continued to control the infection in 94% of patients over 96 weeks. To counter the growing threat of drug resistance, World Health Organization is issuing new guidelines to help countries address HIV drug resistance. Treatment began at 8.5 weeks and then continued for a total of 40 weeks.

They have since been off drugs for eight-and-a-half years without symptoms or signs of active virus.

This treatment was more effective than either on-going oral medication (84%) or the monthly injection (87%). It also says that three-quarters of pregnant women with HIV now have access to medicines that stop them from passing the virus to their babies.

Other collaborating governmental entities in Swaziland included the Health Research Unit, Swaziland Health Laboratory Services (SHLS), Swaziland National AIDS Program (SNAP), Health Promotion Unit, Health Management Information System, Environmental Health Department, and National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA).

Some of the study participants experienced mild or moderate pain at the injection site.

Zimbabwe is one of the countries that have experienced adherence challenges amid reports of misuse and mismanagement of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) as reflected by the ballooning cases of second-line treatment countrywide.

South African child has controlled HIV off treatment for 8.5 years

A nine-year-old infected with HIV at birth has spent most of their life without needing any treatment, say doctors in South Africa.

The girl, whose identity has been protected, started on medication when she was two months old, and ended the course 40 weeks later, AP reported. However, none of them were capable of reproducing.

Despite huge drops in mother-to-child transmission of HIV, about 150,000 infants still are born HIV-positive each year worldwide, and so the identification of the South African child "provides promise for the whole field", said Persaud, who was involved in the treatment of the MS baby, but was not one of the researchers in the South African study.

Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, struck notes of both optimism and caution when speaking about him.

Aggressive treatment soon after infection might enable that in some cases, and the South African girl is the third child who achieved a long remission after that approach.

Hope that early treatment could suppress HIV indefinitely was first raised in 2013 in what became known as the "Mississippi baby" case, in which a young girl was apparently virus-free for two years after early aggressive treatment. Another factor may be that their very early treatment did not give the virus a chance to fully establish itself.

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