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HIV Cure Quest Suffers Setback in Italian Boy’s Relapse

HIV returned in a three-year-old boy who doctors thought had been cured of the virus, echoing a similar case last year that suggests early aggressive treatment fails to clear the reservoirs that make the disease a lifelong infection.

The boy, who was born to an HIV-positive mother in Milan in 2009, began treatment with anti-AIDS drugs within 12 hours of birth. After three years, no trace of the virus could be found in his blood, so doctors decided with the mother’s permission to stop treatment to see whether the toddler had been cured. The virus rebounded within two weeks, the doctors reported in The Lancet medical journal today.