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Long Beach Baby Could Be Second Baby 'Cured' Of HIV

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Baby's feet (Photo by Denis Vrublevski via Shutterstock)
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Doctors revealed that they may have "cured" a baby girl from Long Beach who was born with HIV. Her case is the second of its kind.

At an AIDS conference in Boston today, the researchers discussed the case of the baby born in April 2013 at Miller's Children Hospital, according to the Associated Press. The baby had tested positive for HIV out of the womb and within 9 hours of her birth, doctors gave her an experimental "high-dose cocktail of HIV medicines," reported NBC News and the N.Y. Times. Dr. Deborah Persaud, a Johns Hopkins University doctor, said the results of the tests she gave the baby suggested that the child was completely free of HIV nearly a year later.

However, since the infant is still getting HIV medicine (otherwise known as antiretroviral drugs), they cannot be completely sure she's been cured or in remission (and it's too early to say), but they hope that's the case. It will still take years before they can determine the child's outcome. “We don’t know if the baby is in remission ... but it looks like that,” said Dr. Yvonne Bryson, an infectious disease specialist at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA who consulted on the girl’s care, according to the Associated Press.

While most pregnant mothers with HIV or the AIDS virus take medicine to lower the chances of passing on the virus to their babies, doctors said that the girl's mother wasn't taking her medicine. The baby is now in foster care and seems to be healthy.

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The presentation opened a conversation about a potential way to treat infants with HIV. This comes on the heels of the first announcement the researchers made about a year ago about their first success case, a baby, 3 1/2, from Mississippi. The Mississippi baby received the same treatment as the Long Beach baby, according to the Associated Press. The Mississippi's baby's mother also did not taken any preventative HIV medicine to lower the chances of passing the virus to her newborn because she didn't know she had the virus.

However, the mother stopped giving her baby HIV medicine after 18 months and stopped seeing the doctors. When she did bring the baby back for a check-up, the doctors were surprised the Mississippi baby still had no sign of the virus.

“She [the baby] has not taken any medicines for almost two years and her virus has not returned,” Dr. Hannah Gay of the University of Mississippi Medical Center told NBC News. “We are thrilled that she continues to do so well.”

The researcher said in the conference that they will be administering a clinical trial in three months with the same treatment on 50 babies infected with the virus, reported the N.Y. Times. Although it will take years before they're able to determine if the methods are working completely, it will change the way infected babies are treated going forward.

Eds. Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the baby was cured of AIDS and that the baby was given AIDS medication, when it should have been HIV and HIV medication. LAist regrets this error.