Meet The First Man Cured Of HIV

Meet The First Man Cured Of HIV

Timothy Ray Brown is the first and only person in the world to be cured of HIV. There are some fascinating parts to his story you may not know, but first, here’s a little background.

In 2007, Timothy was a gravely ill leukemia patient living in Berlin (after his cure he was famously known as “the Berlin patient” before he came forward in 2011 and identified himself). Timothy was also HIV-positive, but at the time, his HIV was the least of his worries.

When Timothy needed a stem cell transplant to treat his leukemia, doctors located a donor who had a rare gene mutation known as CCR5, which makes human cells immune to HIV. The result of the stem cell transplant? Timothy’s immune system was replaced with a brand new immune system minus the HIV, and to this day he remains the only person to be cured.

“The HIV is gone and it is gone for good,” says Timothy, who today lives in Palm Springs. “And I am also cancer free. Two cures. I am really fortunate and blessed.”

His cure is now part of the scientific record, but there are more interesting tidbits to learn about this courageous gay man who risked it all and found himself making history in the process.

Here are five things about Timothy Ray Brown that you may not know:

  1. Timothy still identifies as part of the HIV community.

He may be the only person on earth who can say, “I used to have HIV,” but his heart is still very much connected to those living with the virus. He doesn’t care to engage in the sometimes nasty sexual politics between guys who are HIV-positive and those who are negative.

“Remember, I was HIV-positive twice as long as I have been cured,” Timothy said. “I still consider myself part of the HIV community. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

In fact, this November, Timothy is embarking on the HIV Cruise Retreat (“the Poz Cruise”) to sail the Mexican Riviera with hundreds of people living with HIV and their allies. Between days at the beach and excursions in tropical cities, Timothy will share his story during a special presentation and discuss the latest in HIV cure research.

  1. Timothy initially didn’t want the leukemia treatment that eventually cured his HIV.

“I said no to the transplant,” Timothy said, “thinking that it would not be necessary were the leukemia to remain in remission (which it was at the time). I did not need to be a guinea pig and risk my life receiving a transplant that might kill me.” When his leukemia returned, Timothy had no choice but to go through with it.

Neither Timothy nor his doctors had any idea that the stem cell transplant using a donor with the CCR5 mutation might lead to an historic breakthrough. It was a shot in the dark that miraculously hit the target.

  1. The treatment Timothy received nearly killed him. Twice.

Folks, don’t try this at home. Timothy’s HIV cure happened in extreme and dangerous circumstances. Timothy endured chemotherapy, the stem cell transplant, and got pneumonia and sepsis infections in the process. His recovery from the stem cell transplant was exhausting and life-threatening.

The physician responsible for Timothy’s cure, Dr. Gero Huetter, eventually admitted he had given his patient only a 5 percent chance of survival. “Whatever,” says the good-humored Timothy now. “Math wasn’t my favorite subject anyway.”

  1. There is a little bit of Timothy in vials all over the world.

In laboratories around the globe, millions of drops of Timothy’s blood, DNA and tissue samples are being studied.

“I love to give researchers and scientists a hard time about how they know me intimately,” Timothy said. “If only they knew how many pokes, prodding, surgeries and pain I have endured, perhaps they would at least buy me dinner. But it’s all worth it in the spirit of finding a cure for AIDS.”

  1. Helping to find a cure that works for everyone has become Timothy’s mission in life.

Imagine winning the lottery and then using your fortune to help other people. That is the mindset that has driven Timothy since he was cured.

In 2013, Timothy co-founded the Cure for AIDS Coalition with Dave Purdy, and has used his notoriety to keep the search for a cure at the forefront of HIV research. “I know in my heart and soul that I will not be the only one cured of AIDS,” Timothy said. “We are committed to helping end this dreaded disease once and for all.”

While being the first person to be cured of HIV assures this gracious gay man a place in history, it is really what Timothy has done since then that makes him a genuine hero.

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19 Comments

  1. simba
    February 08, 07:43 Reply

    Such a good news, someday the treatment of HIV would be like tht of malaria….

  2. Pete
    February 08, 07:49 Reply

    The wonders of science

  3. Lord II
    February 08, 07:50 Reply

    Wow! I said it….not long from now I know the cure will be well spread and vital.

    However pinky I would like to correct that statement that he is the only one to have been cured from the disease…NO! We have seen those that by the power of God they have been cured of it it’s just that theirs won’t be documented here only because of the stigma that may still persist in our environ…But ask some of these doctors that have seen it and they will tell u…also they might not want to shout it out also for they don’t know how the miracle occurred!

    Not long from now…aids will be like high fever or less!

    • pinkpanthertb
      February 08, 07:52 Reply

      Whatever you say, Lord.

      Although I don’t understand for the life of me how you can claim to be healed through a miracle and still hide away from sharing your good news with the world…because of the stigma?! That’s laughable. And frankly insulting to those who are living with HIV. they are the ones who should fear being stigmatized. If you have been healed truly, what’s there to fear, pray tell. And isn’t the whole point of the miracles of God to testify about it and glorify God’s goodness?

    • pinkpanthertb
      February 08, 07:55 Reply

      So, as far as I’m concerned, the one who has been documented is the first and only man healed of HIV. Let he who has been healed by his faith come forth and speak of it. Until he does, please spare me.

    • DeadlyDarius
      February 08, 07:58 Reply

      I’d like to know these doctors that have ‘seen’ it….unsubstantiated claims have no equal footing with evidence-based medicine

    • Gad
      February 08, 08:38 Reply

      What stigma are you refering to? I believe in miracles.I believe that Jehovah is almighty.Christianity dont just encourage but it mandates beneficiaries of miracles to testify.One of the ways the gospel spread was by the testimony of people who received divine delivarance and healing.its a christian duty to tell of God,s goodness. Lets assume that there will be stigmatisation.Thats the cross.No cross no crown

      • pinkpanthertb
        February 08, 08:59 Reply

        Miracles beget testimonies which beget the growth of the ministry of Christ. Unless you have something to hide, then i don’t see why Anyone cured of HIV wont want to shout it from the rooftops

    • tobby
      February 08, 09:15 Reply

      I wonder what any of this has to do with God.. Was he the donor?

  4. Pete
    February 08, 08:04 Reply

    I know the religious angle will come, that was why I praised the wonders of science. Any ‘cure’ we can’t verify adds nothing to the world.

  5. Gad
    February 08, 08:20 Reply

    The possibility of a functional cure is insight. All should keep hope alive.

  6. Lord II
    February 08, 09:16 Reply

    Yes pinky you are right in the fact that it makes no sense to still fear the stigmatisation and all that but trust me they do especially when it comes to HIV.

    I am aware of an ex Muslim who is still afraid to testify of his healing to his pipo but is well known in our church to have been healed of a debilitating sickness that almost killed him..you see that’s just one reason…

    So yes they do exist and am sorry I can’t give you statistics clearly but to say that there are none healed of the disease by God until now??? I am sorry that’s wrong…and ofcoz men would only NATURALLY strive to SEE before they believe so am not surprised men would want proof first before they accept!

  7. Ace
    February 08, 13:33 Reply

    The irony of life. Gay men were accused of starting the virus now all hopes for the cure now leads back to a gay man. Oh well…

  8. Pisces
    February 08, 19:43 Reply

    Hopeful…..

    Now i’m wishing upon this star!

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