Man Officially Cured Of HIV

For the first time ever, a man has been cured of HIV. The remedy may nearly have killed him, but it opens a door - just a crack - to hope that we may someday kill off the scourge for good.

Strangely enough, the diagnosis that most concerned Timothy Ray Brown in 2007 was acute myeloid leukemia. HIV has been increasingly thought of as a manageable disease, though certainly a terribly burdensome one. What brought the 42-year-old Brown under the care of Germany's Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin hospital was the more immediate threat his cancer posed.

The treatment Brown underwent was aggressive: chemotherapy that destroyed the majority of his immune cells. Total body irradiation. Finally, a risky stem-cell transplant that nearly a third of patients don't survive - but that appears to have completely cured Brown of HIV.

Doctors were savvy when they chose a stem cell donor for Brown. The man whose bone marrow they used has a particular genetic mutation, present in an incredibly small percentage of people, that makes him almost invulnerable to HIV. With Brown's own defenses decimated by treatments, the healthy, HIV-resistant donor cells repopulated his immune system. Three years later, having taken no antiretroviral drugs since the transplant, extensive testing shows no signs whatsoever of HIV.

He's cured.

What does this mean for the future of treatment? It's not as though every HIV patient can or would want to go through the tremendous suffering that was prelude to Brown's recovery. But for the first time, we know that HIV can be cured, not just managed. It opens new avenues of research - gene therapy, stem cell treatments—that may otherwise have been thought dead ends. [AIDS Map]


Comments

    1 in 3 of death vs cure sounds better to me than living with HIV.

      Then you obviously don't know anyone with HIV. It's quite manageable, patients just take their antiretroviral pills every day and otherwise, they're healthy and have pretty much regular lifestyles and expectancy.

      AIDS isn't the death sentence it once was, and nor is it the prolonged agony people seem to think it is.

        Having HIV and living with it is a dampening on life. I think people should be lining up for the cure once it becomes mainstream. Why should we have to pay millions into our taxes for the Govt. to subsidize people anti-viral medications when there is soon going to be a sustainable and useful cure.

        Getting RID of the disease, prevents people from spreading it any further.

        Living with HIV = DISGUSTING!

    Total body irradiation is not only a very risky treatment it has long term side effects, such as blindness, permament organ damage and high chance of cancer reoccurrence.

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