The man, known only as ‘The London Patient’ who was the second person in the world to be cleared of HIV has revealed his identity this week.
Adam Castillejo, who still wishes to be known as ‘The London Patient’ has been confirmed to be in long-term remission from HIV after being treated at Hammersmith Hospital, more than decade after the first known case in ‘The Berlin Patient’ in 2007.
Mr Castillejo was diagnosed HIV positive in 2003 and was later diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a rare cancer of the lymphatic system, in 2012.
The treatment for his lymphoma was chemotherapy to treat the cancer, then he was given a transplant of haematopoietic stem cells from a donor who carried the CCR5 mutation which makes it harder for the HIV virus to enter the host’s CD4 cells.
After treatment his usual HIV antiretrovirals were stopped, and nearly three years on (30 months) Mr Castillejo remains in remission with “no viable virus in bloods, brain fluid, intestinal or lymph tissue”.
Speaking to the New York Times Mr Castillejo said:
“By publicly revealing my identity and my story I hope to help improve people’s understanding of the science and HIV generally”
“I want to thank all those who have supported me on this journey particularly my medical team at Hammersmith Hospital whom without I would not be here today.”
At the time of his lymphoma diagnosis Mr Castillejo was working as a head, whilst also working a second job on weekends.
“After a couple of years the chemo became too intense and I could no longer continue to work”
“My life fell apart at that stage – I lost my job and I couldn’t afford my flat so lost that too.
“I am now starting again, rebuilding my life as I steadily get stronger. The journey has given me the chance to gain more knowledge and understanding about cancer research and the world beyond me.
“Now, I am looking forward to building a new path as an ‘Ambassador of Hope’ for millions of people around the world living with HIV.
“Whilst my treatment is not possible for all, I hope it will offer scientists insights that can help us on the journey to better treatment and a cure.”
Note: The treatment given to Mr Castillejo was primarily for his cancer and not his HIV. This is currently not a practical, viable or safe way of ‘curing’ HIV for most people. Please continue to take your antiretrovirals at your doctor’s direction.
This story was also published on Life4Me.plus.
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