The good news for the sexy people of the world: there is a cure for HIV.
The bad news: medical technicians claim they probably cannot duplicate the cure in most HIV-positive people.
German doctors consummated an amazing medical triumph recently, using stem cell treatment to cure an American man of HIV, possibly the world’s most loathed disease.
For those keeping score, that’s Nancy Reagan and the pro-stem cell research lobby, 1 – the religious right, 0.
Stem cell therapy leads to HIV cure
Timothy Ray Brown, known popularly as the ‘Berlin Patient,’ received a stem cell transplant three years ago during treatment for bone marrow cancer.
His doctors published the results of Timothy’s healing process after years of tests beget a stunning conclusion: the stem cell transplants appear to have cured their patient of HIV.
HIV cure still limited in scope
But before the hook up culture starts tossing its condoms in the recycle bin, this advance does not signify a universal cure – yet.
Unfortunately, the genetic mutation for HIV-resistant stem cells exists ostensibly in less than one percent of the population.
Thus, there is not yet a large enough donor pool to make transplant of HIV-resistant bone marrow a viable remedy.
The notorious difficulty of bone marrow transplants provides an additional barrier to duplicating the ‘Berlin patient’ cures. Such transplants kill a third of patients who undergo the treatment.
Berlin patient success promising despite drawbacks
However, Timothy’s case does suggest a pathway to the elusive universal antidote.
That pathway might include international public awareness campaigns aimed at finding more HIV-resistant donors or laboratory duplication of HIV-resistant stem cells ready-made for transplant.
Right now tough, the most important immediate effect of stem cell development in HIV may be its boost to the global psyche.
HIV has been a scourge, afflicting human societies for decades. HIV symbolized human powerlessness, weakness, and vulnerability. Not anymore.
Man poised to win fight with HIV virus
Now the world can bury the myth of HIV’s invincibility. Just in time for Christmas, the ‘Berlin patient’ story has given a gift of hope to the thirty-three million other HIV patients worldwide.
Berlin doctors have found a cure for Timothy Ray Brown; eventually, the international community will find a way to apply his breakthrough to all.
One small transplant for a man, one giant leap for mankind – and for intimacy. Let the free love era recommence.