South African Child's Case Offers New Hope for HIV Cure

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More than half of people infected with HIV worldwide are now getting drugs, and Aids-related deaths have nearly halved since 2005, putting the world on track to hit the target of 30 million people on treatment by 2020, the United Nations said last week. "It is a demonstration that all the efforts put into the scale-up of HIV prevention, care, and treatment services have borne fruit".

PARIS/GENEVA, 25 July 2017-UNAIDS has welcomed the launch of the End AIDS Coalition (EAC) during the 9th International AIDS Conference on HIV Science taking place in Paris, France.

The four day conference brings together more than 6,000 HIV professionals.

According to UNAIDS, an estimated 220,000 people were living with HIV in Swaziland, and it has the highest HIV prevalence globally at an estimated 27% in 2016.

They were also told that the South African child was among the 143 participants to be place in the second option in which she received ART treatment for 40 weeks before it was stopped.

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Despite much-improved access to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs in sub-Saharan Africa, an "unacceptably" high number of people are developing Aids and dying due to drug resistance, the treatment being interrupted and late diagnoses, the medical charity said.

73% of all people living with HIV in Swaziland, both diagnosed and undiagnosed, now have an undetectable viral load - meaning they can not transmit the virus to others.

Scientists believe other factors may have contributed to the child's remission, but they said this case and two others like it, one in the USA and one in France, may provide insight into how treating babies early could prevent them from having to take HIV drugs for their whole lives.

"With global political will and funding for HIV on the decline. these patients arriving at hospitals sick with Aids will have any hope of reprieve snatched away", said Mit Philips, health policy advisor at MSF. "I think we as scientists are extremely excited by this case and I think the challenge is to try to pin down exactly what were the events that led to this, in this child and what it is that's very special about this case", said Timessen.

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