Man Cured Of AIDS Still HIV-Free 5 Years Later

By Amir Khan on July 25, 2012 11:14 AM EDT

HIV
Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding (in green) from cultured lymphocyte. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Timothy Ray Brown, the first person believed to have ever been cured of AIDS, says reports that HIV has resurfaced in his body are false. Brown, cured of the disease in 2007, said he is still cured and doctors have assured him he will remain that way.

At a June 8 press conference, doctors said that they had detected HIV cells in samples taken from Brown.

"There are some signals of the virus, and we don't know if they are real or contamination," a doctor at the University of California, San Francisco, said at the press conference.

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Brown, however, maintains that he is HIV free.

"I quit taking my HIV medication on the day that I got the transplant and haven't had to take any since," he said, according to CBS News.

Brown, known as the Berlin Patient, was diagnosed with HIV in 1995 while in Berlin. He responded to medication well until 2006, when he was also diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. He underwent chemotherapy, which appeared to work, but stripped him of his immune system. He developed pneumonia, sepsis and various other diseases as a result.

His doctors decided to give him a stem cell transplant, but opted to transplant stem cells from a donor who had a CCR5 mutation, which makes cells immune to HIV. The transplant not only treated his leukemia but cured him of HIV as well.

"Let me be clear," Brown said, according to ABC News." I am HIV-negative."

Despite the success, the procedure was difficult and expensive and is unlikely to become a mainstream treatment for HIV, doctors said.

Brown also announced the creation of a new foundation, the Timothy Ray Brown Foundation, in conjunction with the World AIDS Institute. The foundation would be the first and only in the country dedicated solely to finding a cure for HIV/AIDS.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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