Doctors 'functionally cure HIV in infant'

Doctors believe they have successfully cured a child who was born with HIV.

Details of the case were unveiled at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta and the scientists explained that the child, who is now two-and-a-half years old, needs no future medication for the virus and has a normal life expectancy.

"Now, after at least one year of taking no medicine, this child's blood remains free of virus even on the most sensitive tests available," Dr Hannah Gay, who cared for the child at the University of Mississippi medical centre, told the Guardian.

According to the news source, in sub-Saharan Africa, 387,500 children under the age of 14 were receiving antiretroviral therapy in 2010 and many of these were born with HIV. However, nearly two million more children in the region are in need of the drugs.

Although doctors are still unclear as to why the treatment has been successful in this specific case, they do hope that it can be used to help eradicate the virus among newborns.