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article imageGirl thought be cured of HIV relapses

By Tim Sandle     Jul 11, 2014 in Science
A Mississippi girl born with HIV and who was in remission for more than two years after stopping treatment now shows signs that she still harbors HIV. The news is a blow to scientists who had been studying the girl in the hope of finding a cure.
The case of the girl is this: the girl was treated for HIV, passed onto her by her mother, until she was 18 months old. After this, doctors lost contact with her. Ten months later when she emerged and when examined, medics could find no sign of HIV infection even though her mom had stopped giving her anti-AIDS medicines (anti-retrovirals).
Tests conducted over the next two years repeatedly showed no detectable HIV. This led, according to the Washington Post, some doctors to declare that she had been cured, perhaps "naturally," of HIV. Interest in the case rose and the girl became subject of several medical inquiries in the hope of learning more about her and her body's biochemistry as a path towards an HIV cure.
These hopes have been dashed, according to ABC News. This week doctors announced that they were surprised to find the virus in her blood, and there were also signs that it was harming her immune system.
Despite the setback, some scientists, such as Jeffrey Safrit, research chief at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, are of the view that the girl remains an interesting case. It is suggested, from the girl's case, that early, aggressive treatment of HIV can limit the size of the reservoir of dormant virus in the body and help control infection.
The girl, now aged four, is back on treatment and is responding well.
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