This is pretty awesome, but highlights a glaring problem that still exists in the United States.
A 2-year old child has not tested positive for HIV for several months. Basically all the tests that the doctors can run are showing that the child no longer had HIV. That’s fantastic news.
The prevailing opinion seems to be that a newborn that tests positive can be given sufficient antivirals and support so that HIV cannot find a reservoir, a hiding place, from which to continue to attack the child’s body.
However, according to the same report there are two major issues, not with the medication or the child or HIV, but with the United States medical system.
1) Science has provided the tools to prevent mother-to-child HIV infection. They were not used in this case. I can only speculate because the report is very non-specific. However, my guess is that this child was born of an indigent mother. The report specifically states that the baby was born prematurely to a mother who had neither antiretroviral meds NOR prenatal care.
Seriously? It’s bloody 2013 and we, as a society, are still not providing care to babies and mothers-to-be. But we can damn sure make sure that these mothers deliver the babies and don’t have access to abortion, birth control, or any form of support.
2) The toddler received medications from the age of 30 hours until 18-months of age. At which point, the treatments were stopped for an unknown reason. About 9 months later (January to sometime in the fall), the child returned, was tested, and found to have unmeasurable amounts of HIV particles and no HIV anti-bodies. As of March 3rd, the child remains HIV free.
The question is, what the heck happened to prevent this poor kid from continuing to get medical help?
The tests were showing a good response after 30-days of age. What if, by not seeing a doctor after 18-months of age, the virus was able to come back? No, it didn’t actually happened that way. But how many children don’t have regular access to medical care? The answer is, “even 1 is too many”. This kid seems to be doing very well. I’m very glad for the child. How many children born to HIV+ mothers will spend their entire life with AIDS because of this?
It’s a sad state of affairs that, in this country, having a ‘choice’ for medical care is more important that protecting infants from preventable diseases, like HIV and whooping cough.