A Cure for H.I.V: A First for Women


Fernando Lopez

In June of 2013, a New York woman had been diagnosed with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (she will remain anonymous for privacy concerns). The woman had been struggling with the disease for years, but for the last 16 months she has remained H.I.V free. 

In the time that she was battling this deadly STD, she was also fighting another battle. This New York patient had been dealing with cancer, which she was diagnosed with in March of 2017. This made the struggle much worse for her, but for now both the cancer and H.I.V are under control. 

She was cured of the H.I.V. through various stem cell treatments. The woman received cord blood to treat her acute myeloid Leukemia. Cord blood is known as a source of stem cells. As a result, the virus has fled from her body completely. 

There have only been two other individuals in medical history to have been fully cured of this virus, the two of which were men: Timothy Ray Brown and Adam Castillejo. 

Timothy Ray Brown is known for being the first person to be cured of H.I.V. He also received blood-forming stem cells to treat his myeloid Leukemia. This is the same treatment that was given to the woman. 

Adam Castillejo was the second person known to have been cured of the virus. He was cured through a bone marrow transplant that was for his Lymphoma. 

H.I.V is known for the way it attacks the body’s immune system, and also for the intense flu-like symptoms that it brings upon the body. This is transmitted through contact with blood, semen, or vaginal fluids. 

H.I.V develops into Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which leads to death. The Mayo Clinic states, “By damaging your immune system, H.I.V interferes with your body’s ability to fight infection and disease.” This shows us that the disease is severe enough to cause other illnesses and that it may lead to death due to the harsh conditions. 

Ramces Duarte, a senior at Sultana High, says, “It is nice knowing there are treatments out there to cure such a disease. This is inspirational since it seems like more individuals are being affected by these sexually transmitted diseases everyday.” To see that it is possible for one to overcome such an obstacle is something to behold.

Alex Carrera, a junior, says, “I think this is great, this is definitely a big step taken for stem cell research. This gives us hope for other diseases to be cured and shows stem cells are a good thing.” This is not only big news, but a discovery in itself. With this discovery, there may be less people that suffer from this horrible sickness.

Isaiah Roman, a junior, says, “I can’t say how she felt, but I would think that her pain and stress would be lifted from her. This is inspirational from a medical standpoint.” Seeing that medicine is being evolved to cure people from being sick is great, and because of this instance, others who have H.I.V may also feel a wave of relief now. 

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a horrible thing for anyone to experience. Now that there is more than one way to cure the virus, the world may feel better about trusting the ways of medicine.