Scientists in South Africa have revealed that a child diagnosed with HIV when he was 1 month old has been in HIV remission for 8½ years without regular treatment.
This is the first reported case of a child controlling their HIV infection without drugs in Africa and the third known case globally.
The child was given drug treatment in infancy during a trial but has not had any HIV medicine since the age of one.
However, the scientists who reported the case are protecting the identity of the child, who is now nine-and-a-half years old.
They say the case is very rare, and that the young child’s family are delighted.
The child was placed on antiretroviral treatment, or ART, for 40 weeks, after diagnosis at which point treatment was stopped and the child’s health was monitored.
Blood tests in late 2015 revealed the child is in HIV remission, meaning levels of the virus in the blood are undetectable using standard tests. Subsequent testing of samples dating back to the child’s infancy confirms remission was achieved soon after treatment was stopped.
Head of pediatric clinical trials at the Perinatal HIV Research Unit at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, Dr. Avy Violari is the child’s doctor.
Violari presented the findings at the 9th International AIDS Conference on HIV Science in Paris on Monday.