- Adam Castillejo is the second person in the world to be cured of HIV,
- He was declared free of the virus more than 30 months after stopping antiretroviral therapy
- He was not cured by a stem-cell treatment he received for cancer he also had
- Donors of stem cells used in his treatment have an uncommon gene that gives them protection against HIV
- But it will not be a treatment for the millions of people around the world living with HIV
- The aggressive therapy was primarily used to treat the patients' cancers, not their HIV
- And current HIV drugs remain very effective, meaning people with the virus can live long and healthy lives
Doctors in London on Tuesday announced a second patient has been cured of HIV after undergoing stem cell transplant treatment.
The doctors said they did not find any trace of infection 30 months after Adam Castillejo stopped traditional treatment.
According to a report by BBC, the so-called London Patient was not cured by the HIV drugs but by a stem-cell treatment he received for cancer he also had.
Adam, originally from Venezuela, made headlines in 2019 when researchers at the University of Cambridge reported they had found no trace of the AIDS-causing virus in his blood for 18 months.
Stem-cell transplants appeared to stop the virus from being able to replicate inside the body by replacing the patient's own immune cells with donor ones that resist HIV infection.
Adam, 40-years-old, who has decided to go public with his identity - has no detectable active HIV infection in his blood, semen or tissues, his doctors said.
Lead researcher Prof Ravindra Kumar Gupta, from the University of Cambridge said the new developments represent HIV cure with almost certainty.
"We have now had two and a half years with anti-retroviral-free remission.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," he said.
In 2011, Timothy Brown referred to as the Berlin Patient, became the first person reported as cured of HIV, three and half years after having similar treatment.
In 2012 Adam was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and subsequently underwent a stem cell transplant.
Crucially, the medical team picked a donor whose stem cells had two copies of a mutation that meant the white blood cells they developed into were resistant to HIV.
Now Castillejo has decided to reveal his identity because he wants his case to be a cause for optimism.
“This is a unique position to be in, a unique and very humbling position. I want to be an ambassador of hope," he said.
But it will not be a treatment for the millions of people around the world living with HIV.
The aggressive therapy was primarily used to treat the patients' cancers, not their HIV.
And current HIV drugs remain very effective, meaning people with the virus can live long and healthy lives.
Enjoyed reading our story? Download BRIEFLY's news app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with major South African news!