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The Second Person Cured Of HIV Is Reported To Still Be Free Two Years Later

Just a small bit of good news during these hard times.

Adam Castillejo, an Argentinian man based in London is known as the second person ever to be cured of HIV. Two years after being cured of the disease he is still free of the virus.

Last week, The Lancet HIV revealed in their medical journal that Castillejo finished HIV antiretroviral therapy.

In his efforts to treat lymphoma, Castillejo underwent a stem cell transplant. At the time, his donor carried a mutation known as CCR5-delta 32. CCR5-delta 32 is resistant to HIV and researchers said treatment for his lymphoma not only saved Castillejo’s life but also cured him of HIV.

According to CNN, “HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a life-long viral infection that attacks the body’s immune system and can have significant health consequences. There is no widely available cure, however, the virus is treatable with a combination of drugs known as antiretroviral therapy that reduces the amount of virus in a person’s blood and it is preventable by using PrEP.”

PrEP was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2012 for medical use.

According to UNAids there 37.9 million people across the globe were living with HIV in 2018.

“Our findings show that the success of stem cell transplantation as a cure for HIV, first reported nine years ago in the Berlin patient, can be replicated,” said Ravindra Gupta, a professor at the University of Cambridge’s clinical microbiology department.

As part of his lymphoma treatment, Castillejo underwent one stem-cell transplantation and did not have radiotherapy treatment applied to his whole body as part of his treatment.

Castillejo’s recovery form HIV is a light in studies related to the treatment of the virus and ways in which to pursue less intensive treatment approaches to curing it. “It is important to note that this curative treatment is high-risk, and only used as a last resort for patients with HIV who also have life-threatening hematological malignancies,” Gupta warned about the potential to use a similar method in pursuing invasive treatment of the virus.

Because of the high risks involved with such curative treatment, it is not one being offered broadly to patients with HIV.

This is particularly true when it comes to those that on successful antiretroviral treatment.

The great news is that Castillejo is the second reported patient to undergo this experimental treatment. The authors on his study have said that while he will require extensive observation it won’t have to be quite as regular.

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