First person cured of HIV has died

Timothy Ray Brown

The first person to be cured of HIV has died of cancer. The man, Timothy Ray Brown, known as the “Berlin Patient” was cured of HIV in 2008 after undergoing a complex stem cell transplant for acute leukaemia.

“It is with a profoundly heavy heart that IAS- the International AIDS Society – today mourns the passing of Timothy Ray Brown, the first person to be cured of HIV,” the organization announced five days ago on September 30.

Mr Brown for the past six months, had been living with a recurrence of the leukaemia that had entered his spine and brain. He had remained HIV free, the IAS said in an email to

Mr Brown, who was living with HIV and with acute myeloid leukaemia, received a bone marrow transplant in Berlin, Germany, in 2007. The donor was naturally resistant to HIV infection because of a mutation in the CCR5 gene, a critical protein required by HIV to enter and infect cells.

He stopped antiretroviral therapy (ART) very soon after the transplant and he remained free of any detectable virus. In other words, he was cured. His experience suggested that HIV might one day be curable. This fuelled a range of efforts by researchers and institutions focusing on HIV cure research, the IAS stated.

A full decade after Timothy Brown’s cure, Adam Castillejo, who had also been living with HIV, reportedly remained in HIV remission off ART, 19 months after receiving a bone marrow transplant for Hodgkin’s lymphoma from a CCR5-negative donor. Now known as the “London Patient”, he remains in remission and is widely considered to be the second man cured of HIV, it added.

“On behalf of all its members and the Governing Council, the IAS sends its condolences to Timothy’s partner, Tim, and his family and friends.

We owe Timothy and his doctor, Gero Hütter, a great deal of gratitude for opening the door for scientists to explore the concept that a cure for HIV is possible,” Adeeba Kamarulzaman, President of the IAS and Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Malaya, said.

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