By Lyta Ringo –
One man claims he has overcome the impossible.
He was HIV-positive and now he’s not.
When you are HIV-positive, the risk of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is much higher. However, it is possible to have HIV and not contract AIDS.
According to an article posted on the aidsmap, a man named Timothy Ray Brown from Berlin, was suffering from not only leukemia, but also HIV. Brown underwent a stem cell transplant in December for his Leukemia. Since his transplant, Brown has reportedly been cured of HIV. Both Brown and his doctor have stated that he was HIV-positive before the transplant, and he is now currently HIV-negative.
According to a report in Blood, a medical magazine, a conclusion was drawn after extensive testing saying it “strongly suggests that the cure of HIV has been achieved.”
The cure of HIV has also been added to the top ten list of medical breakthroughs of 2010. Some other medical breakthroughs include an artificial ovary, for those battling infertility and wanting to conceive.
The stem cell transplant also has a lot of other doctors coming up with more ways to “personalize” the treatment. According to Foxnews.com, “scientists have used genetic engineering in six patients to develop HIV-resistant blood cells.”
When a transplant is done, you are receiving someone else’s cells that are just compatible with your blood type. What these researchers are trying to do is use the patient’s own blood cells to create an HIV-resistant blood cell. This would insure that the body wouldn’t end up rejecting the cell because it is it’s own.
Dr. John Zaia described the cure as a “functional cure,” in the Foxnews article, meaning it may not be the complete cure to HIV but it could build patient’s immune systems up to the point where their own bodies can fight off the infection.
Another man, the famous NBA Laker’s player, Magic Johnson, came forward in 1991 announcing that he would be retiring, officially leaving in 1992 after the All-Star Game, due to the fact the he had contracted the HIV virus. Since then reports have stated that Johnson has been cured of the virus.
However, in an article written by Dara Akiko Tom, a writer for the Associated Press, Johnson has not been cured of the virus. He has been taking protease inhibitors, which “reduce illness and lengthen lifetime.” This medicine is believed to be the cause of his cell counts becoming so low that the disease is in the undetectable state.
According to the Associated Press, Johnson himself said, “If it wasn’t for the Lord’s blessing, I wouldn’t be as healthy as I am now.”
Dr. Jeffery Laurence said in the Associated Press article, “Nearly 90 percent of the people who take the powerful drugs within a few months of being diagnosed HIV-positive have undetectable levels similar to Johnson’s condition.”
HIV infection is a worldwide epidemic. In a 2009 report conducted by the Worth Health Organization’s UNAIDS, there were roughly 33.4 million people in the world living with HIV. In 2008, roughly 2.7 million new HIV cases were reported.
According to the un.org website, “It’s been thirty years since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began, and currently, in the U.S. there are 10 million people waiting for treatment.”