US Doctors "Cure" Child Born With HIV For First Time



ATLANTA - Mississippi doctors say they have cured a two-year-old girl born with HIV after very early treatment with standard drug therapy – the first time such a case has been documented.

Dr Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore who presented the findings at the 20th annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta, Georgia, insisted on calling it a "functional cure" rather than a complete cure – meaning that the virus has not been totally eradicated, but that its presence has been reduced to such a low level that a body can control it without the need for standard drug treatment.

Scroll down to watch a video of virologist Dr Deborah Persaud explaining how the girl was "functionally cured" after very early treatment.

The Mississippi toddler was born HIV-positive to a mother who received no prenatal care and was not diagnosed as HIV-positive herself until just before delivery, CNN reports.

Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 (in green) - Source: C. Goldsmith/CDC

The fact that doctors began treating the little girl only 30 hours after her birth with a three anti-viral drug cocktail – a more "aggressive treatment" than usually given to toddlers, according to The Guardian – was key to the outcome.

Although the findings are potentially groundbreaking and may help improve treatment of infected newborns, they have not been met with unanimous enthusiasm. In Russia, AIDS experts Alexei Mazus and Vadim Pokrovsky voiced their skepticism:

"The baby could have been born HIV-negative. Any child can display signs of infection, since the antibodies that a mother makes while she is pregnant are passed on to her baby," Pokrovsky was quoted as saying by The Voice Of Russia.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!