Headlines proclaiming a man in London may be the second cured of HIV caught the attention of the man who is the first to be clinically clear of the virus.
“It’s very exciting and I wish the person, it’s a man, he lives in London, he’s being called the London patient”, I wish him well, and I‘m told he does not want to become public yet, I completely understand that,” says Timothy Ray Brown, from Palm Springs.
Brown, nicknamed the “Berlin patient”, made headlines of his own more than ten years ago.
He felt it was important to tell his story, “I’ve been able to reach a lot of people and I’ve become kind of the quote poster boy of HIV cure.”
Brown was diagnosed with HIV in 1995, and while in college in Berlin he was diagnosed with leukemia where doctors gave him a stem cell transplant to treat his cancer. Just like in the latest case the stem cells were from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that makes resistant to HIV.
Brown says this second case is proving skeptics wrong, “This proves that HIV can be cured and this is kind of a double proof because my case was a proof concept can be cured and now people believe it.”
The statistics are sobering: 1.1 million people in the U.S. are infected with HIV, 9,000 of them in Riverside County, more than half are in the Coachella Valley, and on average 250 people are diagnosed with HIV every day.
Brown hopes this cure will soon be available to more people, “In order to get this transplant have to have blood cancer and I’d like it to move beyond those people who happen to get a second possible death sentence.”
While doctors have been unsuccessful with other patients with the same treatment, they find hope in the latest patient that seems to be free of the HIV virus.
Brown does too, “In science everything is possible, anything’s possible …. a cure will come one day.