95% of Asia Pacific's new HIV cases come from these 10 countries

26 July 2017, 12:30 | Robert Harris

AIDS death rates decline

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Conference on HIV Science set to be held in Paris from July 23 - 26, as well as last week's United Nations report saying, for the first time in the fight against AIDS, related deaths nearly halved since 2005, advocates are still anxious about what President Donald Trump's proposed budget cuts would mean for the future of global HIV programs.

The child had caught the HIV infection from their mother during the time of birth in 2007, the doctors had found high levels of HIV in the blood of the baby.

A child in South Africa, who was thought to have been infected at birth, has been shown to now be free of symptoms of the virus some eight and a half years after treatment, reigniting confidence that rare cases such as these hold clues that can lead to the creation of a vaccine for the decades-long epidemic.

Usually, patients suffering from HIV normally need to stay on antiretroviral (ARV) drugs for the rest of their lives to prevent AIDS.

"With global political will and funding for HIV on the decline. these patients arriving at hospitals sick with AIDS will have any hope of reprieve snatched away", said Mit Philips, health policy advisor at MSF.

"Relapse is a possibility in any case of remission", underlined study co-leader Avy Violari, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg said. "We don't really know what's the reason why this child has achieved remission - we believe it's either genetic or immune system-related", BBC reported.

"The fact that you can go so long without a rebound shows that it is possible to suppress the virus".

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His health was closely monitored as part of the study for the clinical trial investigating the potential for early ART to decrease infant mortality and reduce the need for lifelong treatment among newborns infected with HIV. In addition, low viral levels also dramatically lower the risk of her passing on the virus to others, although not completely.

A French child started anti-HIV therapy at 3 months and stopped treatment sometime between ages 5.5 and 7 years. When the drug treatment ended, the virus was undetectable in has blood - and has since remained so without the child having to take anymore of these drugs.

More efforts are needed, but continuing this kind of research and identifying how the child's immune system fought against the virus may even pave the way for the development of a cure on the long term.

It is worth noting that while there is no active HIV virus in the child's body, the virus has been detected in the child's immune cells.

Two similar cases have been reported of long-term HIV remission in a child after early, limited treatment with antiretroviral drugs.

The child at the center of Monday's announcement was one of 377 HIV-infected children in a research trial that investigated the possibility of treating children with ART and then stopping the treatments for extended periods.

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