Did you read about the baby girl, born in Mississippi to a woman with HIV, who was found with HIV in her blood shortly after birth? Care providers quickly started the infant on a full set of three HIV medicines (usually, only one or two are used in exposed babies to prevent infection).

The medicines were continued for 18 months, but then the mother and child went missing from care. When they returned after almost five months without medicines, no evidence of active HIV infection was found in the child. The medical team performed an exhaustive array of tests to try to confirm the prior presence of HIV and its subsequent eradication, and to rule out rare forms of resistance to HIV infection. Their medical doctor and the media have now declared this child “cured” of AIDS!

It’s really a broad jump to say that this baby was cured. In fact what happened to this baby is what would happen to ALL babies of HIV infected mothers if given the AIDS medications. The chances for an HIV+ mother to give birth to an HIV+ baby are about 30% or about 1 in 3 children born. With proper medical care and medication before the birth that can be dropped to about 1%. But even with DNA tests being done at birth, the chances are very high that the antibodies found in the babies blood stream for HIV where still a residue of his or her mother’s virus. The truth is no one really knows if the baby was HIV+ to begin with. If anything, as Dr. Marc Siedner of Harvard Medical School said, “It seems more likely that her treatment prevented her, after exposure to HIV, from being infected.”

So the great news is that this toddler is showing signs of being HIV negative but the truth is probably not really “cured”.