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Baby thought to be 'cured of HIV' shows signs of virus

A child thought to have been cured of HIV now has detectable levels of the virus, US health officials have said.

The child, known as the 'Mississippi baby,' was the subject of a case study of prolonged remission from the infection that was published in The New England Journal of Medicine last year.

The child - now four years old, was born prematurely in a Mississippi clinic in 2010 to an HIV-infected mother. After being given treatment for 18 months, the child then went for more than two years without antiretroviral medicines and during that time blood samples revealed undetectable HIV levels.

"Certainly, this is a disappointing turn of events for this young child, the medical staff involved in the child's care and the HIV/AIDS research community," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases.

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Older people with HIV 'being failed by the system'

Older people with HIV need more help living with the condition, according to the Royal College of Nursing.

Older people with HIV need more help living with the condition, according to the Royal College of Nursing. Credit: PA

Around a fifth of all people in the UK who are HIV positive are now aged 50 and over, but there is often a lack of training for health care workers and a lack of knowledge among the public, said the RCN on the eve of its annual congress in Liverpool.

Nursing staff will be debating the issue of HIV awareness at the event tomorrow.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN said: "Nursing staff are seeing an increasing number of older people with HIV and too often they can see that the system is failing them.

"Many nurses also feel that they could be better used to help older people with HIV by coordinating care and reducing the stress of dealing with multiple conditions."

HIV vaccine research 'to reach defining moment'

The next six years will see the culmination of a thirty-year hunt for a vaccine against HIV, according to a British HIV researcher leading the search.

Professor Jonathan Weber has been leading HIV research for the past 30 years. Credit: Reuters

Professor Weber has been working towards the goal of an effective HIV vaccine since 1985. He told doctors and leading HIV clinicians in Liverpool today:

"By the end of this decade I believe we will have reached a defining moment in the history of HIV vaccination research. We will be able to say with confidence if a generation of work has delivered an effective HIV vaccine candidate.

“If not we will know that our current technology is not enough. We will require an as-yet unmade scientific breakthrough.

"We have seen success, albeit with rates of protection which are too low. Perhaps the HIV vaccine research community can learn from our highly successful Olympic athletes. Marginal gains can really add up to success.

"A series of minor improvements in the vaccines we currently have will optimise their potency.”

Around 20K people in the UK unaware they have HIV

Charities have used World Aids Day to call for more to be done to encourage people to get tested for HIV.

Read: Record number of Britons living with HIV

It comes as the number of those living with the virus in the UK reaches 100,000, and the reason the virus is spreading faster than it ever has before is because of the the amount of people, estimated at around 20,000, who are unaware of their infections.

Joanna Simpson reports.

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