Researchers at a conference on HIV have released information about an infant patient that has essentially been cured of its HIV infection.

The mother of the child found out she was HIV positive when she was in labor at the hospital, much too late for the normal course of medications that would prevent the transmission of the virus to the child at birth. The placenta blocks the virus from infecting the child because the child's blood and the mothers blood are kept separate. It is only when mother gives birth does the blood mix and the possibility of transmitting the virus occurs.

The child was put on strong anti-retroviral medications at 30 hours old and there was a presence of the virus in the baby's blood. The child remained on medication and was followed up until 18 months with regular checkups.

But for close to six months the child dropped off the map and was not receiving medical care or medication. When the child was brought back to a doctor at 23 months, the doctors saw that the child had no detectable levels of a replication-competent virus.

The child is now 30 months old and is living happily with no medication.

But interestingly, the head doctor working on this case indicated that this was a "functional cure" meaning that they did not yet know if the child will remain well enough to not need medication in the future. This is because they did detect, using ultra-sensitive techniques, very low levels of the virus that would not normally show up on standard testing.

The press release for the American Foundation for AIDS Research can be found here.

For now, this holds the hope that the close to 800,000 children who acquire HIV as children may have a treatment option.