Monday, June 6. 2011
As the world marks the 30th anniversary of the discovery of AIDS and HIV, a San Francisco man is celebrating a clean bill of health. Timothy Ray Brown, known in medical circles as the "German patient," has been HIV free for four years, according to Yahoo News.
Since the first AIDS diagnosis was delivered, HIV has infected 60 million people, and killed 30 million, according to New York Magazine. Anti-retroviral drugs have made it possible for many people living with the disease to prolong their life and manage their symptoms, and before Brown started testing negative for the disease - which he discovered he had in 1995 - he was also using the so-called "AIDS cocktail."
However, when Brown discovered he had leukemia as well, doctors decided to give him a bone marrow transplant and stem cells from a man who is immune to HIV. What resulted is what physicians are calling a "functional cure" to the disease.
While this treatment is not feasible for everyone, it is promising for the future of AIDS research and associated health insurance costs. Drugs used to quell the illness can cost upwards of $20,000 per person per year, according to The Bellingham Herald.
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