The New York Times just reported about an HIV+ baby who now has no evidence of HIV infection. When the baby was born, five tests confirmed that the baby was infected, so the baby was treated within 30 hours of birth with 3 anti-retroviral drugs, which is not typical treatment. The toddler is now 2 ½ years old and has been off drugs for a year, with no evidence of HIV infection.
Doctors are quick to credit modern science in the form of the unusually early intervention with three drugs. And certainly, it’s possible that this regimen of treatment of HIV+ infants may prove to be the solution. Studies will surely ensue, and if proven to be effective at curing HIV in babies, this is indeed a major medical breakthrough that may affect the nearly 330,000 newly infected babies diagnosed each year.
I hope this is true. Really I do. But just to cast a shadow of doubt in our collective minds, let me throw out an alternative suggestion. What if doctors study HIV+ babies, treat them with an early intervention of three anti-retroviral drugs, and find that this unusual regimen is no better than standard treatment, which has never been proven to cure an HIV+ baby?