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French Teenager in HIV remission despite stopping medication.

The BBC reports that an 18 year old French woman is currently still in remission for HIV despite stopping her medication almost 12 years ago. This is the first long term remission from HIV in a child and is being discussed at the International Aids Society (IAS) in Canada.

The 18 year old was born in 1996 and contracted HIV from her mother either during the pregnancy or during child birth. At 3 months of age she was given anti-retroviral medication. She continued this medication until 6 years of age when her family decided to stop the medication. Twelve years later the level of the virus in her system remains undetectable.

However it is important to note that this may change in the future and levels may again rise in the absence of medication.


One theory as to why her course has panned out this way is that she received anti-retroviral medication from a very early stage in infection and many experts are stating the importance of early commencement of medication regardless of infection route or age. Essentially they believe the earlier someone starts the medication the better.

A similar case that came to prominence two years ago was the case of the Mississippi bay in America. Also contracting HIV from her mother at birth, she was believed to have been free of HIV after starting HIV treatment within 30 hours of diagnosis but her remission lasted only 2 years after stopping medication. Her viral load then became detectable and she has subsequently been restarted on medication.

Either way, the case highlighted by this French teenager is promising but larger studies need to be conducted before any firm evidence can be garnered.

Watch this space.

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