Announced the Second Person to Survive HIV in the World

Adam Castillejo, known in the scientific literature as the London Patient, in London's East End, March 1, 2020. Castillejo endured a decade of grueling treatments and moments of despair to become only the second person to be cured of HIV. Now, he says, "I want to be an ambassador of hope." (Andrew Testa/The New York Times)

The person, who became healthy with HIV treatment a year ago and known as ‘London Patient’, revealed his identity with the desire to become a ‘hope ambassador’. The person who reveals the identity by interviewing the New York Times is 40-year-old Adam Castillejo.

The person who became healthy with HIV treatment last year and was introduced to the world as ‘London Patient’ announced his identity. 40-year-old Adam Castillejo, who made history as the second person to survive HIV in the world, said he wanted to be a ‘hope ambassador’ for other people suffering from this disease.

Speaking to the New York Times, Venezuelan-based Castillejo said that his situation was ‘unique and embarrassing’. Saying that he was working to find out if he was ready for this situation before revealing his identity, the former HIV carrier said that he first opened a Twitter account and then decided the right time to tell his story. “I don’t want people to think I was chosen, probably at the right time, in the right place, that’s all,” Castillejo said.

Stem cell transplant brought success:
In 2003, HIV virus trapped Castillejo was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2012 and stem cell transplantation was done. Doctors transplanting stem cells to Castillejo said that an important mutation called Delta 32 in the marrow-appropriate donor prevents HIV transmission. The transplant from this donor included the possibility of treating both cancer and HIV. Stem cell transplant is rarely used in HIV-infected people because treatment has a serious procedure with many risks.

A similar treatment was applied to Timothy Brown, known as the Berlin Patient, who went down in history as the world’s first human survivor of HIV. While both patients were receiving chemotherapy, Brown had also undergone radiotherapy. Castillejo also received antiretroviral treatment after stem cell transplant, and was completely recovered from HIV 18 months after stopping treatment.

Last year Castillejo’s doctors were not sure that their patients really got rid of HIV. So they preferred to use the word ‘regression’ instead of ‘treatment’, but now Dr. Ravindra Gupta thinks that he has completely recovered from the virus.


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