HIV-Positive Teenager in Remission for 12 Years

By Sharon Smith
Wednesday, 22 July, 2015


Some great news has emerged from the 2015 International Aids Society Conference in Canada this week, with a French teenager who was born with HIV having been in remission for 12 years - the longest on record for a person in her age group.
The female patient was treated with antiretroviral medication until six weeks of age, and at three months was treated with a combination of four HIV drugs for long-term infection control. At the age of six her parents stopped giving her the medications (reports are unsure as to why), and HIV-negative blood tests were returned a year later, prompting her doctors’ decision to trial the non-drug plan of care.
Twelve years later, she is still in remission and researchers are looking to pursue the emerging evidence that treatment of HIV early in their infection stage, or for those born with HIV: early in life.
"This case is clearly additional evidence of the powerful benefit of starting treatment as soon as possible," Nobel Prize-winning HIV researcher Francoise Barre-Sinoussi told Nature.
"What the field needs to do next to confirm this is real is to interrupt therapy in a controlled manner in a large number of individuals and see what happens," says Steve Deeks, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. His proposed trial of more than 100 HIV patients will monitor patients closely after their treatment ends, and put them back on medication at the first sign of the virus rebounding. The earliest results are expected by 2018.
This comes after confirmation in July from the World Health Organisation that Cuba has become the first country in the world to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

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