Second Person Effectively Cured of HIV Reveals Identity

Second Person Effectively Cured of HIV Reveals Identity

Ariana Bondi, Social Media Editor

A year after doctors from the U.K. cured a man from London of HIV, the man has finally revealed his identity. Adam Castillejo, a 40-year-old man who is thriving due a decade of grueling treatment, revealed his identity to inspire others, according to The New York Times.

“This is a unique position to be in, a unique and very humbling position,”  Castillejo said. “I want to be an ambassador of hope.” His journey to recovery has not been linear. After receiving his diagnosis in 2003, he went on to have many procedures. He received antiretroviral treatment, which treats the HIV infection. Later on, he also received a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia for which he was treated. After receiving a stem cell transplant for his leukemia, it also seemed to cure his HIV. They are now using this knowledge to treat other HIV patients with stem cell transplants. 

HIV kills around one million people per year and there is still no exact cure. Researchers cautioned against using this method because they can not yet offer it to everyone with HIV on a large scale. There is also a ten percent mortality rate on stem cell transplant procedures, according to Ravindra Gupta, an infectious diseases clinician. 

Castillejo said seeing talk of him all over the news was surreal. He also talked with another patient Timothy Ray Brown, known as the “Berlin Patient.” Brown was the first man to be cured in 2008 and Castillejo related to him because of this. Castillejo was only 23 when he found out that he had HIV and thought that meant a death sentence. 

Castillejo felt so helpless with the lymphoma diagnosis atop the HIV one that he considered assisted suicide. The doctors told him he would not live through Christmas, yet he was not done fighting. He eventually received the transplant on May 13, 2016, which led to months in the hospital where he lost 70 pounds and suffered many infections. A year later he emerged as the second person cured of HIV. He refers to himself as LP (London Patient) and is determined to live his private life to the fullest.