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The child had caught the HIV infection from their mother during the time of birth in 2007, the doctors had found high levels of HIV in the blood of the baby.

Scientists were surprised to find that the child's blood tests revealed that he had no need for medication confirming that remission began right after he received the treatment and that the virus remained in a small number of immune system cells, but none capable of reproducing.

Approximately 36.7 million people in the world have HIV, but only slightly more than half have access to recent medication.

As promising as the newest case is, the South African child is not cured, Cotton said.

Figures by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a California-based health policy NGO, also estimated that the reduction of budget by U.S. president Donald Trump could lead to almost 200,000 new HIV infections.

Between 2005 and 2011, researchers in the CHER trial randomly assigned HIV-infected infants to receive either deferred ART or early limited ART for 40 or 96 weeks.

"We don't believe that antiretroviral therapy alone can lead to remission", Avy Violari, pediatric research head at the Perinal HIV Research Unit in Johannesburg, told the BBC.

Since the epidemic erupted in the 1980s, 76.1-million people have been infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

IAS president and South African HIV researcher Linda-Gail Bekker said these findings were a "highlight for the conference" and show that anti-HIV "efforts can pay off" even in "a country so heavily burdened by HIV".

Further phase 3 trials of the treatment are already in progress and more evidence will be needed in wider groups of patients but the results from the LATTE-2 study on long-acting therapy could well be the "next revolution in HIV therapy", researchers said.

When people were diagnosed with HIV they were initially given oral therapy to bring the virus under control.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health is now conducting a trial to test whether giving ART to HIV-infected babies within 48 hours of birth leads to long-term control of the virus after treatment is stopped.

Unchecked resistance would also lead to additional 105,000 infections, because when treatment fails to suppress the virus, the patient is more likely to infect other people.

However, in 2014, it emerged that the child's virus had returned.

According to the report, about 19.5 million people with HIV were taking AIDS drugs in 2016, compared to 17.1 million the previous year. This means that there are not high enough levels of the virus in her body to override her immune system, leaving it strong enough to fight off other infections if necessary. The greater hope for treating HIV is in new medicines that would destroy only the infected cells, along with strong public health initiatives that help everyone access treatment for HIV, she added. She is the third patient in the world to receive the treatment, and her case shows the effectiveness of early HIV treatment as a possible functional cure for the infection.

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