Mississippi Child Thought to Be Cured of HIV, Shows New Signs of Virus

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 10 2014 9:09 PM

Mississippi Child Thought to Be Cured of HIV, Shows New Signs of Virus

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An AIDS ribbon is displayed at the White House during World AIDS Day.

Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

A young child in Mississippi once thought to be cured of HIV contracted at birth is showing signs of the virus again, federal health officials said on Thursday. The young girl, now four-years-old, was born to an HIV infected mother in 2010 and after an intensive antiretroviral drug treatment during the first 30 hours of her life, stopped receiving treatment after 18 months. The so-called “Mississippi baby” then went 27 months without drugs and showed no trace of the virus in her bloodstream. That news was greeted, the New York Times reports, as a “thrilling possibility that aggressive early treatment might be able to reverse infections in newborns — and perhaps even in newly infected adults.”

On Thursday, however, during a press conference it was announced the child’s doctors had discovered the HIV virus had begun replicating. "Certainly, this is a disappointing turn of events for this young child, the medical staff involved in the child's care and the HIV/AIDS research community," Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases, said in a statement.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.