September #182 : Is He or Isn’t He Cured? Real Answers to the Case of the Berlin Patient - by Laura Whitehorn

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Table of Contents


Healing the Hurt

Hot on the Trail

From the Editor

The Not-So-Weaker Sex


Letters- September 2012


The Accidental Historian

What You Need to Know

Not So Sacred Bonds of Marriage

Mo Money, Mo Health

Easing the Pain of Adult Male Circumcision?

Fifty Shades of HIV?

Digital Disease Detector

We Hear You

There's No Place Like Home

POZ Survey Says

Take Good Care

What Matters to You

Clarifying HIV Heart Disease Risk

Overturning the Gay Blood Ban

Treatment News

Generic Drugs in the U.S.?

Is He or Isn’t He Cured? Real Answers to the Case of the Berlin Patient

More Safer Sex

Common Sense Rules the Court

GMHC Treatment Issues September 2012

Comfort Zone

Making Cents of Health Insurance

POZ Heroes

Midnight Cowboy

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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September 2012

Is He or Isn’t He Cured? Real Answers to the Case of the Berlin Patient

by Laura Whitehorn

Timothy BrownYou probably remember the story. Brown, who was living with HIV, needed risky, costly stem cell transplants for leukemia. He got the transplants in 2007 and 2008 from a donor who had a genetic mutation that made his cells virtually resistant to HIV. Brown acquired the resistance along with a healthy immune system, and he was declared cured of AIDS—a world first—in 2010.

Since then, the generous and groundbreaking Brown has submitted himself to repeated medical tests to monitor the minutiae of his body’s microbiology. Recently, samples of his blood cells and rectal tissue seemed to reveal some fragments of HIV.

However, the viral fragments did not match the genetic makeup of the HIV that caused Brown’s original infection, and debate ensued about whether the fragments actually resulted from lab contamination. And none of the fragments were capable of reproducing (essential for HIV’s survival in a host).

The remaining viral particles do raise the question of whether Brown’s cure was in fact sterilizing (eradicating all HIV from the body) or functional (cutting the level of virus in the body so low that it can’t cause disease, eliminating the need for HIV meds).

Either way, it seems the latest developments in Brown’s case provide grounds for more research, but not alarm.

Search: Timothy Brown, Berlin Patient, leukemia, stem cell transplant, genetic mutation

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