Announced at a medical conference in Seattle on Tuesday, a man in Germany, known only as “the Düsseldorf patient once living with HIV appears to be free of the virus following a medical procedure intended to treat cancer.
He is the third man to become HIV -free.
A man known as the “Berlin patient” was the first person to become HIV-free after cancer treatment, back in 2007. To treat his leukemia – a cancer of the immune system – he was given a treatment that involved killing nearly all his immune cells with radiotherapy or drugs, and then replacing them with cells from a donor. This donor was naturally resistant to HIV, thanks to a rare but natural mutation in a gene called CCR5.
On Monday (March 4), researchers announced that a U.K. man — known as the “London patient” — was HIV-free following a bone marrow transplant. The London patient was then the only the second person ever reported to experience long-term remission from the virus without the need for medication
Researchers are tracking the few other people who have HIV and have then had a bone marrow transplant from someone with the CCR5 mutation in a collaboration called IciStem. As well as the three reported so far, there are two others who haven’t yet stopped taking antiviral medications, says Javier Martinez-Picado of the IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute in Barcelona.
Unfortunately one marrow transplants can’t be used for people with HIV who don’t have cancer, because they carry considerable risks and are only used as a last resort. But the fact that the approach seems to work could point the way to other strategies for a cure. Bit one possible method might be to use gene editing to mutate the CCR5 gene in a person’s own immune cells.
THIRTY-FOUR YEARS. HIV/AIDS has been our plague for 34 years. We should have known more about this plague by now. 34 years is a very long time to let people die.
I think more and more about evil. I believe in evil. I believe evil is an act, intentional or not, of inflicting undeserved harm on others. Genocide is such an act. I believe genocide is being inflicted upon gay people.
Genocide is the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or ethnic group. Such as gay people. Such as people of color. To date, around the world, an estimated 78 million people have become infected, 39 million of whom have died. When we first became acquainted with HIV there were 41 cases.
The main difference between the Larry Kramer who helped to start Gay Men’s Health Crisis in his living room in 1982 and ACT UP in 1987 and the Larry Kramer who stands before you now is that I no longer have any doubt that our government is content, via sins of omission or commission, to allow the extermination of my homosexual population to continue unabated.
It is talk like this that got the original GMHC board to boot me off and out.
It is also talk like this that enabled ACT UP to succeed in getting us our own treatments. These treatments are not good enough but have been good enough to extend our lives. Unfortunately they still come with side effects and they reward their greedy manufacturers with more money than they would make locating the cure that would end this plague.
GMHC was my first child and its rejection was very painful. The original ACT UP self-destructed, which was also a painful experience. Once there were treatments, the desire to act up managed to evaporate rather quickly. This greatest achievement ever facilitated by the gay population—we actually went out there and got our own medicines — then decamped, now that we had a drug that would allow us to do what we did and live the lives that got us in trouble in the first place. The remnants of ACT UP, my second child, is a painful place for me to see now.
Thirty-four years is a long time for pharmaceutical manufacturers to operate in such an evil system.
Thirty-four years is a long time for every President and every Congress to sit back and let us die.
Thirty-four years is a long time for Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is in charge of AIDS research, to watch his and our President and his and our Congress and their National Institutes of Health let us die.
Allowing people to die is evil and genocidal.
We should have had more in 35 years.
These are not what most people would call bad people. But these heterosexuals are not people who are losing any sleep over the death of so many millions of people.
I no longer hear the word “cure” from the remnants of ACT UP or it’s spin-off Treatment Action Group, TAG, or from anyone in our health care establishment starting with Dr. Fauci. I certainly don’t hear it from anyone in Congress or the White House. Dr. Robert Gallo said a few weeks ago that AIDS will kill far more people than Ebola ever will.
Thus what an irony to be asked back into the arms of my first child, GMHC. Just when a new executive director, Kelsey Louie, who feels and says much the same as I did and do, has taken over.
Kelsey said to me, “It has become clear to me that GMHC has every reason to be more aggressive on all fronts—especially in our public remarks.” Oh, it’s a new world at GMHC, one that I tried to start, and Kelsey Louie is very smart and caring and courageous and I congratulate the board for choosing him to be your new leader. “Many are saying that they are happy to see life back in GMHC,” board chair Roberta Kaplan, our great lesbian lawyer who secured a major marriage victory from the Supreme Court, said when she asked me to come back and I accepted.
Kelsey said the words that won over my acceptance. “We must aspire to a cure once and for all. Let’s demand a cure and a society that values people with HIV enough to pay for it. Only if we aspire to more can we demand more. Only if we demand more will we get more.”
My first child sounds like a chip off the old block. I salute him and all of you for being here to join me in supporting Kelsey and his and our new GMHC. The power to change history is still within our grasp. We cannot wait another 34 years. This evil still being waged against us must cease. The battle cry now must be one word: CURE. CURE. CURE.
Allowing people to die is evil and genocidal.
Yes, I believe in evil.
78 million people have become infected, 39 million have died.
I no longer hear the word “cure” from anyone.
It is time to hear it from everyone. Led by GMHC. We demand a cure!
A Mississippi baby born with the AIDS virus appears to have been cured after being treated with an aggressive regimen of drugs just after her birth 2½ years ago, and has become acase that could trigger changes in care for hundreds of thousands of babies born globally each year with HIV.
The findings, reported Sunday by researchers, mark only the second documented case of a patient being cured of infection with the human immune-deficiency virus. The first, an adult man known as the Berlin patient, was cured as a result of a 2007 bone-marrow transplant.
The new case was discovered after the baby girl’s mother stopped treatment on her, and doctors realized that the virus was undetectable even without drugs, which HIV patients normally must take for the rest of their lives
Researchers believe that a doctor’s decision to start an aggressive antiretroviral treatment within 31 hours of the infant’s birth led to the cure. They theorize that the drugs prevented the formation of so-called viral reservoirs that harbor the virus. These reservoirs have been the key stumbling block to a cure because even though AIDS drugs stop HIV from replicating, the virus lurks in the reservoirs, ready to come surging back when treatment is stopped.
Dr. Deborah Persaud, a pediatrician and AIDS researcher at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore and lead author of a study reporting the cure. “That’s really unheard of. If people go off therapy, most of them rebound…within a few weeks.”
She described the findings at a news conference Sunday in advance of their presentation Monday at the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta.
Part Doris Day, part Mary Tyler Moore, and part Auntie Mame gay domestic goddess Brini Maxwell makes kitsch feel classy through her unparalleled personal flair for home design, entertaining and savvy household tips.
Brini first began sharing her vintage/classic know-how with other Manhattanites in 1998 through her self-titled cable access television show. With an emphasis on uncompromising fabulousness, Brini quickly garnered a devoted fan base and established herself as the go-to-girl on vintage fashion and mid-century modern treasures and the meaning of life.
Brini’s helpful hints and answers to your toughest entertaining and personal questions will be featured weekly in 2013 on Back2Stonewall.com.
For Brini’s first feature. Here’s a little hangover cure for those of you who indulged a little too much last night…
For the cure-all you’ll need lemons, and an open mind.
I know I haven’t, and I’m betting most POZ/AIDSmeds readers haven’t either. Then why aren’t we fighting harder for research towards a cure? And why aren’t we pushing back harder against congress for recently blocking support for needle exchange programs, or taking Obama to task for his proposed budget cut to PEPFAR? Why aren’t we all standing up strongly for the single most important piece of legislation for the care of people with HIV/AIDS? It’s called Obamacare, and we should all start defending it against misleading FOX News/Tea Party attacks.