The second person to be cured of HIV has revealed his identity to The New York Times, over a year after scientists declared that he was virus-free following a bone-marrow transplant to cure his cancer. Adam Castillejo, a 40-year-old who had been dubbed the “London patient,” told the newspaper that he was first diagnosed with HIV in 2003, at the age of 23, but was able to maintain a healthy life for eight years with antiretroviral drugs. In 2011, however, he learned he had Stage 4 lymphoma. In an attempt to treat his cancer and replace his immune system, Castillejo received a bone-marrow transplant on May 13, 2016. His donor also carried a mutation that impedes the entry of HIV into cells, and that cleared his body of the deadly virus, he said. He is now the second person to be cured after Timothy Ray Brown, who was declared virus-free in 2007. “I don’t want people to think, ‘Oh, you’ve been chosen,’” Castillejo said. “No, it just happened. I was in the right place, probably at the right time when it happened,” he said. Castillejo took his last set of antiretroviral drugs in October 2017.
“This is a unique position to be in, a unique and very humbling position,” he said. “I want to be an ambassador of hope.”