Advertisement covers CROI 2013

Commentary & Opinion

New York Times Editorial: "Prevention Remains Best Method to Stop Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission"

March 5, 2013

"If confirmed by further analysis," the case of a Mississippi infant being cured of HIV "would be the first time a person has been cured with simple drug treatments, making a lifetime of antiviral therapy unnecessary," a New York Times editorial states. Born to an HIV-positive mother who did not receive HIV treatment during her pregnancy, the newborn was aggressively treated for HIV infection beginning 30 hours after birth, but the mother stopped treatment after 18 months, the editorial notes, adding, "The baby, now two and a half years old, has been free of the active virus ever since." The editorial adds, "Although very sophisticated tests can find traces of the virus, it is not able to replicate and spread. This is described as a 'functional cure.'"

"Researchers must still demonstrate conclusively that the baby had truly been infected and was not simply prevented from absorbing its mother's infection -- a process achieved routinely in many babies," the New York Times writes, adding, "They must also show that this is not an exceptional, nonreplicable case with an atypical baby, but that the same treatment would work in other newborns." The editorial concludes, "If the stronger early treatment is confirmed to work, it could become the standard of care around the world. ... [But e]ven if the treatment works, the best defense against mother-to-child transmission is still prevention, which will always be preferable to treatment after an infection has set in" (3/4).

Back to other news for March 2013

This information was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

Related Stories

Behind the Miracle Cure a Broken System Lurks
Exploring the Media Fascination With the Baby Cured of HIV
Functional Cure for HIV-Infected Infant After Very Early Treatment

This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.

No comments have been made.

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:

Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.


The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our content and advertising policies.