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HIV survivor in no-show at ICASA

Mirirai Nsingo
THE only known patient to have been cured of HIV, Timothy Ray Brown from Germany who was expected at the on-going International Conference of AIDS and STIs in Africa did not show up.

Known as the Berlin Patient, Timothy was expected to give a testimony about how he was cured.

People living with HIV were looking forward to his visit hence the no show shattered their dreams.

Icasa co-ordinator, Luc Armand Bodes said the much hyped Berlin Patient had constraints that stopped his visit.

“We had planned to have the Berlin Patient at the conference but he just informed us that he was having constraints that stopped him from coming. We were really looking forward to him visiting but it was just unfortunate,” he said.

African football legend Samuel Eto’o who was also expected at the meet did not show up.

“Even Eto’o could not make it,” he added.

Timothy had been living with HIV for 12 years before becoming the first known person in the world to be cured after a stem cell transplant in 2007.

According to Science Daily, Timothy recounts his many years of illness, series of difficult decisions and long road to recovery.

The Berlin Patient was expected to bring inspiration to the millions of Zimbabweans living with HIV and a delegate who spoke on condition of anonymity said it was disappointing that he didn’t come.

“So many people living with HIV were expecting to meet him and hear his testimony. It is unfortunate that people were not told on time that he was no longer coming and kept guessing that they would meet him during any of the sessions,” said the delegate.

In his commentary, Timothy tells of his bold experiment of using stem cell donor who was naturally resistant to HIV infection to treat the myeloid leukaemia which was diagnosed 10 years after he became HIV positive.

The Science Daily highlights how the stem cell donor had a specific genetic mutation that can protect a person against HIV infection with the virus not being able to enter its target, the CD4 cells. After the stem cell transplant, Brown was able to stop all antiretroviral treatment and the HIV has not    returned.