A child who was infected with HIV at birth has been virtually ‘cured’ and is healthy and drug-free at nine years old.

The unnamed youngster from South Africa was given a short course of  antiretroviral therapy treatment shortly after birth.

The child has since been off medication and without symptoms or signs of the virus being active for eight-and-a-half years.

Most patients need drugs daily to prevent HIV attacking the immune system and causing AIDS.

Doctors do not fully understand why the South African child is doing so well and do not believe it is the antiretroviral therapy alone.

They hope that finding answers could lead to a new drug or vaccine to stop the virus in its tracks.