Morning Roundup: Does HIV Cure Lie in Stem Cell Transplants?


A cure for HIV may lie in stem cell transplants, Clinton signs a PEPFAR agreement with South Africa, Texas teens learn the consequences of teen parenthood, and Australia only had 412 adoptions last year.

  • A man may have been cured of HIV during the course of a stem cell transplant to treat his leukemia.

     “In the transplant, the patient received bone marrow, which contains blood stem cells, from a donor with a rare mutation. The mutation essentially prevents the most common form of HIV from getting inside certain immune cells, called T CD4 cells, and wreaking havoc on the immune system. Afterward, the virus appeared to stop replicating in the patient’s body, and he no longer needed HIV antiretroviral medication.”

    The virus is no longer detected in the man’s body, but scientists say that doesn’t necessarily mean it is not still present. Fox News, by the way, reports the story with this headline: ADULT Stem Cell Transplant Cures HIV-Positive Man, Say Docs. Just in case there was any confusion on where those stem cells came from, and who’s policy (Bush) is to thank for the advancement.

  • Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa’s minister for international relations and cooperation, signed a “PEPFAR partnership framework agreement, a five-year plan of cooperation for fighting HIV/AIDS in South Africa.”
  • USA Today profiles a Texas program that is supposed to teach high school students the financial and emotional realities of becoming a teen parent. Required for all Texas schools, the program, according to an evaluator, “‘is not a sex-education curriculum’, she says. ‘This provides the why you don’t want to get pregnant, but not the how.’”  Thought-provoking? Yes. But why show teens consequences, without teaching them how to prevent getting themselves into the situation in the first place?
  • Adoptions in Australia have dropped to their lowest level since the 1970’s, officials say. Last year, there were just 412 adoptions in the country. A spokesman for the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says “there are fewer Australian children in need of adoption because of the growing acceptance of births out of wedlock, better birth control and increased sex education.”

Dec 14

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