Timothy Ray Brown, the American originally known as the “Berlin patient” and who in 2008 became the first man to be cured of HIV, is terminally ill with cancer, his companion announced.
“Timothy is not dying of HIV, let's be clear,” Tim Hoeffgen told activist and author Mark King, who posted a blog post on Tuesday and wrote that the couple wanted to come through him to break the news. “HIV has not been detected in his blood since he was cured. Let's go. There is leukemia. My God, I hate cancer ”.
Mark King told AFP he spoke to them last Saturday. Timothy Ray Brown is in hospice care at their home in Palm Springs, California.
“I will keep fighting until I can no longer fight,” the patient told Mark King over the phone.
Timothy Ray Brown has written a page in the medical history of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
In 1995, he was living in Berlin when he learned he had been infected with the virus. Then in 2006, he was diagnosed with leukemia.
To cure him of leukemia, his doctor at the University of Berlin used a stem cell transplant from a donor who had a rare genetic mutation that gave him natural resistance to HIV, in the hope that the transplant cures both diseases.
It took two transplants, heavy and dangerous operations, but the bet succeeded: in 2008, Timothy Ray Brown was declared cured of both diseases, the initial announcement having preserved his anonymity as “patient of Berlin”.
In 2010, he agreed to release his name publicly, and has since become a public figure, speaking in interviews and conferences.
“I am living proof that there can be a cure for AIDS,” he told AFP in 2012. “It is wonderful to be cured of HIV”.
Since then, only one other remission has been announced, last March, using the same method. He is known as the “patient of London”.