The second person ever to have been freed of the HIV virus has unmasked himself, a year after doctors announced they had successfully sent the virus into remission. Heretofore known as the “London Patient” because of the city where he has lived for two decades, his name is Adam Castillejo. Since the announcement of his remission, he has been tweeting under the handle @londonpatient.
Castillejo, born in Caracas, Venezuela, contracted the virus at the age of 23 in 2003 and in 2011 developed Stage 4 lymphoma. To treat his cancer, doctors gave him a bone-marrow transplant from a donor with a gene mutation that prevented his cells from allowing HIV in, which cleared Castillejo of the virus.
The NYT reports: “Mr. Castillejo’s goal in opening his private life to the world, he said, is to be a beacon of hope for people who have H.I.V. or cancer or who have gone through a transplant. He did not make the decision lightly. He first pondered going public in November and put it off for several months to prepare himself physically and mentally.”
Said Castillejo: “I don’t want people to think, ‘Oh, you’ve been chosen.’ No, it just happened. I was in the right place, probably at the right time, when it happened. We’re here today — you never, never know.”
Read his full story HERE.
Timothy Brown, the first person to experience similarly successful remission aka the “Berlin Patient,’ was ‘cured’ of HIV infection via chemotherapy, radiation, and genetically-engineered stem cells in 2010.