Brown was born in the United States, but lived in Berlin when he contracted HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS, in 1995. The road to his cure for HIV began in 2006, when he was diagnosed with leukemia.
To treat the cancer, he underwent two bone marrow transplants in 2007. The bone marrow came from a donor with a rare mutation in the DNA that caused Brown’s HIV disappearance. He stopped taking HIV medication and three months later the virus had disappeared. The cancer was also gone.
Earlier it became clear that things were not going well with Brown. The leukemia came back five months ago and the cancer had spread to his brain and spine. Brown has therefore recently stayed in a hospice in Palm Springs, California. His death was announced on Facebook. He died in front of his partner and friends.
38 million people
Worldwide, more than 38 million people are infected with the HIV virus. More than 32 million people have died of the virus since the start of the epidemic in the 1980s. Today, the virus can be controlled with drugs.
It is not possible to give those 38 million people a bone marrow transplant. The treatment, which is only used for cancer, is too risky, aggressive and also too expensive.
Brown is not alone in being cured of the HIV virus. Last March it became clear that a second person, the Briton Adam Castillejo, had disappeared the disease. He too had cancer and had a bone marrow transplant.
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