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Second man now HIV-free

HEALTH

According to doctors, a London man appears to be HIV free — only the second person in the world to receive such a diagnosis.


A report in The Lancet earlier this month stated that after 30 months off antiviral treatment, the man continues to be clear of the virus. The patient — 40-year-old Adam Castillejo — was first diagnosed HIV-positive in 2003. However, following a bone-marrow transplant researchers discovered that Catillejo had entered “long-term remission”. Today, researchers are confident enough to announce that he is HIV free. “We propose that these results represent the second-ever case of a patient to be cured of HIV,” Ravindra Kumar Gupta, a professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge, said in a statement.


Timothy Brown — aka the “Berlin Patient” — became the first person in the world to be announced HIV free after he, too, underwent a bone marrow transplant more than a decade ago. In both cases, stem cells were used from donors who shared a rare genetic mutation resistant to HIV. The news of the second patient proves that Brown’s case wasn’t a unique anomaly as previously thought. As well as finding no detectable virus within Castillejo’s blood, there was no trace of it in the cerebrospinal fluid, gut, sperm or lymph nodes, either. “We propose these findings represent HIV-1 cure,” the study authors write.

Previously known as just the “London Patient”, Castillejo made the decision to reveal his identity because he wanted his case to be a cause for optimism. “This is a unique position to be in, a unique and very humbling position,” Castillejo said. “I want to be an ambassador of hope.” However, offering a note of caution, Professor Sharon Lewin of Melbourne’s Doherty Institute, said, despite the optimistic findings, questions still remain.”Only time will tell. But this is looking very promising.”


ABOVE Adam Castillejo

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