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Infants, ‘Cures,’ And HIV / AIDS Treatment

A second infant seems clear of HIV after a new treatment. We’ll look at the latest on the frontlines of AIDS.

In this January 2013 photo provided by Penn Medicine, a technician removes a case of modified T cells genetically modified to resist HIV infection from storage in an ultra-low temperature freezer for testing at the Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia. Scientists have modified genes in the blood cells of HIV patients to help them resist the AIDS virus, and say the treatment seems safe and promising. (AP)

In this January 2013 photo provided by Penn Medicine, a technician removes a case of modified T cells genetically modified to resist HIV infection from storage in an ultra-low temperature freezer for testing at the Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia. Scientists have modified genes in the blood cells of HIV patients to help them resist the AIDS virus, and say the treatment seems safe and promising. (AP)

About 50,000 new HIV infections hit Americans every year.  More than a million Americans live with HIV, HIV/AIDS.  Globally, that number is 35 million.  In the last week, striking good news – promising developments – on several fronts of HIV/ AIDS treatment.  First with infants.  The second of two babies born with HIV has now apparently been cleared of the disease.  People are almost saying “cured.”  That’s a rare word in this world.  Then more – on shots for prevention, and “gene editing” that may repel HIV.  This hour On Point:  the latest from the frontier of battling HIV/AIDS.

– Tom Ashbrook


Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Deborah Persaud, pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Dr. Bruce Levine, associate professor in cancer gene therapy and director of the Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility at the the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: Researchers See Signs of HIV Resistance in Gene Therapy — “The elusive quest for a cure for AIDS and the virus that causes it got a boost from two developments that amount to early but promising evidence that such a goal is achievable. Researchers at a conference in Boston said very early treatment in an infected baby may have sent the AIDS virus into remission, marking the second time than an infant born to an infected mother has possibly been cured by an aggressive regimen of drugs given shortly after birth.”

The Guardian: Baby born with HIV reported to be clear of virus after urgent treatment — “The baby girl could be the second to be freed of HIV after early treatment with anti-HIV drugs. The first case was reported last year, when doctors gave drugs to a baby born in Mississippi. She was treated until she was 18 months old, but doctors then lost contact with her.”

Boston Globe: Hopes rise for AIDS drugs that last longer – “If the findings can be replicated in humans, they have the potential to overcome a major problem in AIDS prevention: that many people fail to take their antiretroviral pills regularly. A preliminary human trial is to start late this year, said Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, an AIDS specialist at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, but a larger trial that could lead to a treatment in humans may still be some years away.”

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  • Ray in VT

    I remember when an AIDS diagnosis was a death sentence, and I am so hopeful that the potential exists to spare some from this horrible disease.

  • Ed75

    It’s interesting that at this time when everyone is arguing for same sex marriage we don’t hear very much about the ravages of AIDS.

    • Ray in VT

      Probably because the two aren’t related.

      How about how the Catholic Church opposes contraception, when condoms, when used properly, can decrease the likelihood of transmission of AIDS and other STDs by up to 80%?

      • Ed75

        It seems to me that promoting same sex marriage – which is part of a larger agenda to get people to accept same sex relations – increases the rate of HIV transmission. Also, the Church argues against sex outside of marriage for many reasons, and that is the cause of the STDs and AIDS transmission, especially among young people. But it’s so rampant and misunderstood, what can turn it around now?

        • Ray in VT

          It seems to me that people are going to engage in homosexual activity whether or not same sex marriage is legal, as people have throughout the history of human society. It also seems to me that giving people the option to form long term, legally recognized relationships is likely to discourage the sorts of behaviors that lead to the spread of HIV and other STDs. Also, people are going to have sex outside of marriage, as they have throughout the history of human society. Telling people not to isn’t going to change that. Prohibiting the use of proven methods that will prevent STD transmission costs lives, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV has been especially destructive, and where it is not a “gay” disease, as some in America perceive it to be.

          • Ed75

            I guess we disagree on methods: the president just cancelled all funding of abstinence based education. Some very good programs. The one country that has made some progress on AIDS in Africa is Uganda, where they used the ABC program (abstinence first). South Africa has been blanketed in condoms and AIDS hasn’t decreased. But now Africa has other and immediate perils.

          • Ray in VT

            I am in favor of all approaches, but I think that focusing on abstinence only is a mistake, as studies find it to not be effective when compared to a comprehensive program that includes contraception.
            You mention the ABC program, and what is the C? It is condoms. It should also be noted that the HIV infection rate appears to have risen from 6.4% to 7.3% from 2005 to 2012 according to one report.

          • Ed75

            I don’t know what, if anything, will work. As long as our society regards sex as necessary for health and the way to happiness, and that people are unable to control themselves, I don’t see much hope.

          • Ray in VT

            Science has found many positive health benefits to sex, and people do seem to like it quite a bit. Being conscious of those things and trying to get people to make smart decisions is probably the best we can do. People have always hopped into bed, married or not. To contend that such things did not occur historically is folly.

  • AC

    whatever chemicals require such thick gloves in the photo, they’re putting into babies? odd photo joice…..

    • http://onpoint.wbur.org/about-on-point/sam-gale-rosen Sam Gale Rosen

      Not sure, but based on the caption, it’s probably for the cold!

      • AC


  • KWF

    Leave the poor monkeys alone and tell people to use condoms.

    • Guest

      flagged as inappropriate

  • Anonymous

    i was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS for over 5 years which made loose my job and my relationship with my fiance after he discovered that i was having HIV, he departed from me i tried all my best to make him stays with me, but neglected me until a friend of mine on Facebook from Singapore told me Great healer, who will restore my life back with his powerful healing spell, he sent me the email address to contact (dr.marnish@yahoo.com) and i quickly contacted him, and he said my condition can solved, that he will treat the disease immediately only if i can accept trust him and accept his terms and condition, i Agreed because i was so much in need of help by all means, so i did all he want from me and surprisingly on Sunday last week He sent me a text, that i should hurry up to the hospital for a checkup, which i truly did, i confirm from my doctor that i am now ( HIV NEGATIVE) my eyes filled with tears and joy, crying heavily because truly the disease deprived me of many things from my life, This is a Miracle, Please do not en-devour to email dr.marnish or call him at +15036626930 for healing and solution

  • HerpesAndDating.net

    Don’t up set by HIV or other STDs. It is not the end of your life!

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