The British chef confirmed as only the second person in the world to be cured of HIV has been pictured for the first time.
Adam Castillejo, 40, dubbed the “London Patient”, has been found to be free of the virus 30 months after a pioneering bone marrow transplant from a donor with HIV-resistant genes.
It came 12 years after the only other successful cure of 42-year-old American Timothy Ray Brown in Germany – who was known as the “Berlin Patient”.
However, the treatment is so risky it is only appropriate for HIV patients who have a deadly cancer.
Mr Castillejo was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2012, having already lived with HIV since 2003, and a bone marrow transplant was his last hope.
The 2016 procedure at Hammersmith Hospital in west London meant he was cleared of both cancer and HIV.
Doctors believe chemotherapy had knocked out infected cells before the transplant replaced them with cells resistant to HIV, giving the virus nowhere to go. The former corporate chef has chosen to reveal his identity as he wants to give hope to others.
He added: “I am looking forward to building a new path as an Ambassador of Hope for millions of people living with HIV. While 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.
“This is a unique and very humbling position to be in.”
Professor Ravindra Kumar Gupta of Cambridge University, who led the study, said: “Our findings show the success of stem cell transplantation as a cure for HIV, first reported nine years ago in the Berlin Patient, can be replicated.”
It comes as the HIV hospital visited by Princess Diana faces closure at the end of the month due to lack of funds.
Boss Geoff Coleman said the NHS, which funds 80% of its services, has stopped referring patients to Mildmay Hospital in Bethnal Green, east London, to cut costs – but warned treating them elsewhere would be more expensive.
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