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Friday April 12, 2024

US man 'cured' of HIV, Leukaemia with trailblazing stem cell transplant

Paul Edmonds, California patient has carried HIV for more than 31 years

By Web Desk
February 27, 2024
Paul Edmonds (right) with Ahmed M Aribi, who oversaw his cancer treatment. — CityofHope/File
Paul Edmonds (right) with Ahmed M Aribi, who oversaw his cancer treatment. — CityofHope/File

Paul Edmonds, a 68-year-old patient, expressed his gratitude for being virtually healed of acute myelogenous leukaemia and experiencing HIV remission after undergoing a transformative stem cell transplant five years before.

“Many City of Hope doctors, scientists, nurses, supportive care professionals and others made it possible for me to be cured of leukaemia and in remission for HIV. I can’t thank them enough,” Paul Edmonds of Desert Springs, California, said in a statement last week about the California-based cancer treatment hospital, according to the New York Post.

Edmonds has carried HIV for more than 31 years, longer than any of the other five patients. He is one of just five persons in the world to achieve complete remission from the virus.

In 1988, Edmonds received an AIDS diagnosis. He also persuaded Arnie House, his future spouse, to be tested and she was found positive for HIV.

“I wasn’t ready to die,” he told ABC News last year.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) projected that in 2022, over 39 million people worldwide would be HIV positive.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART), a cocktail of medications, can be used to treat the virus by preventing HIV from proliferating.

It will take five years for Edmonds to be declared HIV-free AND he has been off the medication for almost three of those years.

On the other hand, pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, lowers the risk of HIV infection through injectable drug use or intercourse.

Notably, after getting bone marrow and stem cell transplants in 2007 and 2008, Timothy Ray Brown, also referred to as the "Berlin patient," became the first person to achieve HIV remission, therefore curing himself of the AIDS-causing virus and leukaemia. At the age of 54, he lost his battle with cancer in 2020.