For only the second time in history, a man has been cured of HIV. That man is Adam Castillejo, and he is free of the virus more than 30 months after stopping antiretroviral therapy. He was not cured by the HIV drugs, however, but by a stem-cell treatment, he received for cancer he also had, the Lancet HIV journal reports.
The donors of those stem cells have an uncommon gene that gives them, and now Mr. Castillejo, protection against HIV. In 2011, Timothy Brown, the “Berlin Patient” became the first person reported as cured of HIV, three and half years after having similar treatment.
Although it is a great success story, stem-cell transplants will not be a treatment for the millions of people around the world living with HIV. The aggressive therapy is primarily used to treat the patients’ cancers, not their HIV. The good thing, however, is that current HIV drugs remain very effective, meaning people with the virus can live long and healthy lives.