The Man Who Had HIV and Now Does Not
Four years ago, Timothy Brown underwent an innovative procedure. Since then, test after test has found absolutely no trace of the virus in his body. The bigger miracle, though, is how his case has experts again believing they just might find a cure for AIDS.
Brown is a 45-year-old translator of German who lives in San Francisco. He is of medium height and very skinny, with thinning brown hair. He found out he had HIV in 1995. He had not been tested for the virus in half a decade, but that year a former partner turned up positive. “You’ve probably got only two years to live,” the former partner told him when Brown got his results.
His partner was wrong—lifesaving anti-retrovirals were about to arrive—and Brown spent the next ten years living in Berlin, pursuing his career and enjoying the city by night. He was gregarious, a fast talker; when he went out, he’d always wind up the center of a group. “I used to be quite a flirt,” he tells me. “I would see someone in a café, bar, or disco and knew how to get what I wanted.” In 2006, Brown was living in Berlin with his boyfriend, a man named Michael from the former East Germany. That year, on a trip to New York for a wedding, he began to feel miserable. He chalked it up to jet lag, but it didn’t go away. Back in Berlin, his bike ride to work took so long that he got chewed out by his boss for lateness. Michael called his doctor, who saw Brown the next day.
The results came back: leukemia. A new, unrelated disease was now threatening his life. Michael cried. Brown was referred to Charité Medical University, where he was treated by Gero Hütter, a 37-year-old specialist in blood cancers.
After chemo, the leukemia came back. Brown’s last chance was a stem-cell transplant from a bone-marrow donor. Hütter had an idea. He knew little about HIV, but he remembered that people with a certain natural genetic mutation are very resistant to the virus. The mutation, called delta 32, disables CCR5, a receptor on the surface of immune-system cells that, in the vast majority of cases, is HIV’s path inside. People with copies from both parents are almost completely protected from getting HIV, and they are relatively common in northern Europe—among Germans, the rate is about one in a hundred. Hütter resolved to see if he could use a stem-cell donor with the delta-32 mutation to cure not just Brown’s leukemia but also his HIV.
Hütter found 232 donors worldwide who were matches for Brown. If probabilities held, two would have double delta 32. Hütter persuaded the people at the registry to test the donors for the mutation; his laboratory paid, at a cost of about $40 per sample. They worked through the list. Donor 61 was a hit.
His colleagues and the chief of his unit were dubious. “The main problem was that I was just a normal physician—I had no leading position. It was not always easy to get what we needed,” Hütter recalls. Brown himself was not pushing the idea. “At that point, I wasn’t that concerned about HIV, because I could keep taking medication,” he says.
Before Hütter asked the donor registry to begin testing, he’d searched the literature and contacted AIDS experts. It dawned on him that no one had ever done this before. “My first thought was, I’m wrong. There must be something I was missing.” In a sense, that was true. Gero Hütter did not know what most AIDS researchers and clinicians had taken as accepted wisdom: A cure was impossible.
The 1996 International Conference on AIDS in Vancouver brought the stunning announcement that a combination of three anti-retroviral drugs could keep HIV in check. David Ho, director of New York’s Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, went further. In the closing session, Ho said that it might be possible to eradicate the disease from the body with 18 to 36 months of therapy. Time magazine named Ho “Man of the Year.”
But Ho was too optimistic. Treatment with the drugs, no matter how early it’s begun, cannot eradicate HIV, because the virus hides, lurking in the brain or liver or gut without replicating, invisible to the immune system. It is waiting to come roaring back if therapy is stopped. Disillusioned, some cure researchers transferred their finite resources and energy to improving AIDS treatment or working on a vaccine. Money for cure research dried up. Some scientists took to calling it “the C-word” or “cure” with air quotes.
HIV Cure: New Drug 'Vacc-4x' May Become First Functional Cure Against the Virus
new Bionor Pharma vaccine may lead for the creation of a potential
functional HIV cure. This reduces the viral load among patients and
latest result has shown 64 percent less median viral load within 6
Vacc-4X From Bionor Pharma
Bionor Pharma now focuses its efforts to pass its new Vacc-4x drug in clinical trials apparently the first functional cure against HIV. The company announced the test results from its randomized, multicenter, double-blinded and placebo-controlled Phase II trial on 136 patients with Vacc-4X, candidate cure vs. AIDS-causing virus.
Between July 2008 and June 2010, the drug company conducted Phase II study for Vacc-4x on adults infected with HIV-1 aged 18 to 55 in 18 sites in Germany, Italy, Spain, UK and the U.S.Around 174 individuals were screened but enrolment stopped with 136 participants were 93 randomly assigned to receive Vacc-4x while the remaining 43 to receive placebo. Subjects who completed 6-month interruption of antiretroviral drugs have showed 64 percent viral load reduction compared to those under placebo.
"Researchers are optimistic that the data offers clues for how such a vaccine could be optimised and offer the first new treatment modality in HIV in over coming years. We need to understand why Vacc-4X appears to have worked much better in some patients than in other, in order to help expedite its regulatory approval," Dr. Richard Pollard, chief of infectious disease at University of California Davis, said according to MarketWired.
Vacc-4x could become the first cure against HIV. It is considered as one of the most advanced therapeutic vaccines under development with demonstrated efficacy on the virus. Bionor Pharma followed the strategy, "Kick, Kill and Boost," to achieve a functional cure.
Using this strategy, Vacc-4x gets a powerful mechanism to reduce viral load inside the human body and may flush out the virus permanently.
1. Release dormant HIV reservoirs residing in infected human cells.
2. Encourage HIV destruction through immune response evoked by Vacc-4x.
3. Boost the immune system by strengthening it to maximize attack against HIV.
Since Vacc-4x is still under clinical trials which will reveal adverse effects in humans, one serious event according to The Lancet that Vacc-4x may have exacerbate multiple sclerosis and reported as possibly related to the study treatment.
Also, Vacc-4x is immunogenic that provokes an immune response to fight infection which in this case is HIV. It induces rapid growth of immune cells such as CD4 and CD8 T-cell populations that aid destruction of the AIDS-causing virus.
Certain proportion of the participants resumed ART before study treatment ended and change in CD4 counts during the treatment interruption showed no benefits of vaccination. It was also revealed that Vacc-4x was safe, well-tolerated, immunogenic and seemed to have contributed to a viral-load set point reduction after the interruption of ART, which considered an important factor for future HIV-cure strategies.
To contact the editor, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
HIV has been cured in a child for the first time
In a monumental first for medicine, doctors announced today that a baby has been cured of an HIV infection. Dr. Deborah Persaud, who presented the child's case today at the 20th annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infection, called it "definitely a game-changer."Persaud, of Johns Hopkins University Medical School, is the lead author of a report recounting the child's treatment. The identity of the little girl, who was born to an HIV-positive woman in rural Mississippi, has yet to be released. What we do know is that she is only the second person in the world — and the first child — to be cured of HIV in its devastating 32-year history. If the case is confirmed, it is truly unprecedented.The abstract for Persaud's presentation (which can be found in its entirety here) provides details of the child's treatment, which involved very early administration of antiretroviral therapy (ART), initiating treatment when the child was just 30 hours old (emphasis added):Methods: Infant exposure to HIV was confirmed through review of maternal HIV antibody and plasma viral load tests, including HIV drug resistance testing. Infant infection was documented using standard HIV DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and plasma viral load. ART administration was confirmed with medical and pharmacy records and maternal report of medication adherence.Persistence of HIV infection following treatment discontinuation was assessed using standard clinical assays that included plasma viral load, proviral DNA, and HIV antibody testing. Ultrasensitive HIV DNA (droplet digital PCR), plasma viral load (single copy) assays, and quantitative co-culture assays were done at age 24 and 26 months to further assess HIV persistence. HLA typing was done to confirm matching of the mother–infant pair.Results: Maternal infection with wild type subtype B HIV was verified. The mother and infant shared HLA haplotypes. Infant infection was confirmed by positive HIV DNA and RNA testing on 2 separate blood samples obtained on the 2nd day of life. 3 additional plasma viral load tests (days of life 7, 12, and 20) were positive before reaching undetectable levels at age 29 days.The child, who is now 2 and a half years old, has reportedly been off drugs for a year. Still, her blood tests continue to show no signs of a functioning virus.The authors' conclusions say it all: "This is the first well-documented case of functional cure in an [HIV-positive] child and suggests that very early [antiretroviral therapies] may prevent establishment of a latent reservoir and achieve cure in children.We'll keep you posted as more info comes to light. In the meantime, read the researchers' account of the girl's case at CROI: "Functional HIV Cure after Very Early ART of an Infected Infant." See also: these general overviews by NPR and the NYT.
LGBTQ Theory Books
LGBTQ* Theory Books (You May Want) To Know
- Queer Theory, Gender Theory - Riki Wilchins
- Feminism is Queer: The Intimate Connection between Queer and Feminist Theory - Mimi Marinucci
Mad for Foucault: Rethinking the Foundations of Queer Theory (Gender and Culture) - Lynne Huffer
- Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity - Judith Butler
Please Select Your Gender: From the Invention of Hysteria to the Democratizing of Transgenderism - Patricia Gherovici
Queer Cowboys: And Other Erotic Male Friendships in Nineteenth-Century American Literature - Chris Packard
Aberrations In Black: Toward A Queer Of Color Critique (Critical American Studies) - Roderick A. Ferguson
- Queer Girls in Class (Counterpoints: Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education) - Lori Horvitz
GAYa NUSANTARA Mengajak
Pada "GAYa NUSANTARA mengajak" kali ini, GN mengajak untuk berpartisipasi dalam Majalah GAYa NUSANTARA Vol 02/09 bertema Bangga Terhadap Diri Sendiri yang akan diterbitkan pada bulan Juni.
Caranya gampang! Tinggal kirimkan karya kamu ke email GNredaksi@gmail.com dan di cc ke email@example.com. Tim redaksi menerima hasil karya dalam bentuk apapun, bisa berupa cerpen, puisi, gambar, atau opini.
Atau bisa ikut serta dalam rubrik majalah yang baru, yaitu "Kita berbicara", caranya kirimkan foto kamu dengan memegang tulisan "Ketika aku bangga menjadi .......... maka ........."
Deadline: 11 Mei 2014
HIV 101: Can I Transmit HIV Through Oral Sex?
Everyone has questions when they find out they are positive. In this
series of posts, here are several of the most common, plus
straightforward answers to help you navigate this new life of yours.
It is far less common, but possible, to transmit HIV through oral sex, especially if you are a man and you ejaculate into someone else’s mouth. If you have HIV and your partner performs fellatio on you but you do not ejaculate in that person’s mouth, you have an extremely low chance of passing HIV to them. HIV transmission through “fellatio without ejaculation can happen, but it is exceedingly rare,” says Thomas Coates, Ph.D., a professor of medicine and director of the University of California, San Francisco, AIDS Research Institute and the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies. “It’s not ‘no risk,’ but it’s relatively low risk.” When ejaculation occurs during fellatio, the risk of HIV transmission rises; researchers debate what the rate of transmission is but most estimates are between 1 and 10 percent. If you are a woman, having someone perform cunnilingus on you is extremely low risk as well, as long as you are not menstruating.
Credit: HIV answers
Advocate for homeless LGBT youth calls on Pope to end religion’s anti-gay messaging
NEW YORK — Homeless LGBT youth advocate Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Center, America’s largest shelter for homeless LGBT youth, is calling on Pope Francis to to lead the world’s religious communities in bringing an end to the “grave moral failure” by the Church to embrace LGBT youth and families.
The plea comes in an open letter published in a full-page advertisement in Sunday’s New York Times, sponsored by Faith in America, a non-profit organization founded by North Carolina businessman Mitchell Gold to counter “religion-based bigotry.”
“I write on behalf of the homeless LGBT youths I serve. I ask you to take urgent action to protect them from the devastating consequences of religious rejection, which is the most common reason LGBT youths are driven from their homes. At the heart of the problem is that the church still teaches that homosexual conduct is a sin, and that being gay is disordered. I hope that if you understand how this teaching tears families apart and brings suffering to innocent youths, you will end this teaching and prevent your bishops from fighting against the acceptance of LGBT people as equal members of society.Gold, who founded the N.C. furniture company Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, said the campaign “might be one of the most consequential efforts I’ve ever been involved in.”
“The Roman Catholic Church is the largest and most influential Christian organization in the world. By teaching that homosexual conduct is a sin, and that the homosexual orientation is disordered, it influences countless parents and families in societies across the globe to reject their children. In the name of these children, and in light of the love and compassion at the heart of the message of Jesus, I ask that you end this teaching.”
“Just imagine for a moment if so many of the kids that have killed themselves did not grow up being taught that homosexuality was sinful … if when they came out to their parents they were totally embraced rather than being told they were ‘disappointed’ and needed counseling….if they felt they had family and church to turn to?” said Gold.
A Facebook page was also launched to accompany the ad. A copy of the ad is here (pdf).
Credit: Calls on Pope
Increasingly, anti-trans = anti-abortion: #protransprochoice
The right to body autonomy and being free from oppressive gender stereotypes is an issue that’s near and dear to my heart. I’ve noticed that the same hubris people who stand in the way of trans people are generally the same people who are standing in the way of the right to safe and legal abortion services for many of the same reasons.The Pacific Justice Institute, the very organization that hounded a trans kid to the brink of suicide, is also an anti-abortion group. The Salt & Light Council, the very organization that went on the news to falsely claim that trans children were scurrying up and and over bathroom stalls so they could watch cis people use the restroom, is also an anti-abortion group. Alliance Defending Freedom, (remember this org; we’ll come back to them in a moment) the same organization that went to Fox News with lies about what happened at Evergreen College, is also an anti-abortion group.Consider the gender stereotypes these folks appeal to as they take an anti-trans/anti-choice stance:
In their anti-trans/anti-choice world, learning to be a good homemaker who pumps out as many kids as the males in her life wish is gender. People like me fuck with that world view. I’ve also noticed they believe that they – not you – get to contextualize your life experience. They’re happy to yell at me, “No matter what you do, you’ll always be a man!” while shouting a clinic patients, “No matter what you do, you’ll still be a mother; you’ll just be a mother to a dead baby!” I’ve noticed that these people – be they TERFs or fundies – believe that gender only ever = males controlling females. I’ve also noticed that on top of that, both will smugly privilege themselves to define your experience for you.I therefore spend my Saturdays defending clinic patients as they attempt to access an abortion clinic because a person’s right to hold agency over their body (and not the other way around) is also a trans issue. I do what I do because the enemies of choice are the enemies of my freedom.I’m a Clinic Escort, or as the people who try to mob, intimidate and shame people entering the clinic call us, “Clinic Deathscorts.” (BTW, “Deathscort” would make an awesome metal band name!) I generally stand at the front gate and try to keep the anti-trans/anti-choice crew from mobbing cars as they enter the clinic:
I was happy to learn that the president of a state NOW chapter will be doing a TransAdvocate interview, echoing these sentiments. Additionally, I was happy to see Planned Parenthood and NARAL give voice to these intersections of oppression as well:An anti-trans/anti-abortion piece written by the Catholic News Agency is making its rounds on right-wing outlets. The report warns “of global push for ‘gender identity’ language:”Attorneys working for human rights at the United Nations and other global organizations note a growing trend to introduce “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” language – as well as abortion rights – into international law.A “newer theme that we see in international law is what we call the SOGI movement, or the Sexual Orientation Gender Identity movement,” British attorney Paul Coleman told CNA on March 23.“It’s been around for the last decade and it is seeking to promote the terms ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ on an international level; seeking to provide protections, seeking to change international laws to include those terms and having a series of knock-on effects in a number of different areas.”Coleman, who specializes in international litigation with a focus on European law, does legal advocacy in international institutions of governance like the the United Nations, the European Court of Human Rights, the European Union.The report interviews Paul Coleman, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom – they very group I previously noted went to Fox News peddling the false claim that a trans woman was repeatedly exposing herself to 6 year old girls. Just before explaining what “gender identity” refers to, Coleman makes the same claim TERFs do: “gender identity” is a term that isn’t understood.“The terms ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ are terms that aren’t particularly well understood,” explained the attorney, who serves as legal counsel in the Vienna office of the international organization Alliance Defending Freedom.“That’s part of the issue with this sort of terminology – that its so fluid, that it changes – it can mean whatever people want it to mean.”As a result, the language becomes a kind of tool for incorporating certain beliefs into law.“In effect, ‘sexual orientation’ is a ‘code word,’ so to speak, for homosexuality and homosexual behavior, and ‘gender identity’ is a ‘code’ for transsexualism or people who feel they are not male or female, but are something different, something in between, or nothing at all,” Coleman said.The Alliance Defending Freedom makes it clear that trans issues are part of the “homosexual agenda” and warns of societies which are trans-affirming because they also support abortion rights.In addition to the SOGI movement, Coleman noted an “attempt to create a right to abortion” in international law – an effort which which he says has been around since the early 1990s and continues to grow in “force” each year.This attempt also uses key language to place these ideas in global law, he added.“It’s one of the major trends that we now see…there are many documents that are discussed at the United Nations where the phrases ‘reproductive health and rights’ and ‘sexual reproductive health and rights’ appear constantly.”“No matter what the issue is that’s being discussed, they’ll always find a way to include those issues.”Neydy Casillas, an attorney and former law professor from Mexico working in the Organization of American States and Latin America [and advocate for the Alliance Defending Freedom], lamented the heavy international focus on issues of sexuality rather than difficult situations faced by many around the globe.“Sadly in these organizations, where they should be talking about the problems that exist in the world, like poverty, lack of access to health care in general, lack of education, etc., – problems that will affect the development of nations – discussion has focused solely on the (question of) what is life, to try to legalize abortion in all circumstances.”“They also work very hard on the homosexual agenda,” added the attorney who also does advocacy work for Alliance Defending Freedom, “as if they were the problems the world is experiencing – completely ignoring other problems that exist and affect the entire world and truly help development.”Coleman cited three different groups at the United Nations advancing the language and goals of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”The “primary drivers” are the “activist organizations,” followed by “liberal, predominantly western countries,” and then “the institutions themselves at the UN: people that work for the UN itself.”When the three are aligned, Coleman warned, the results are powerful.“That is why terms like ‘gender identity’ were completely unknown ten years ago and now they’re being pushed on many different levels today even though there isn’t a single UN treaty that mentions the terms ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity,’” he explained.Coleman noted that such a process is often very complex, since it involves the reinterpretation of international treaties.“Where international treaties say, for example, that people have the right to health, that’s being interpreted as saying ‘well, health includes reproductive health, reproductive health includes abortion – therefore, there is a right to abortion.’”Although nations may refuse, many “want to appear as if they are keeping up with their ‘human rights obligations’ – they don’t want to be constantly harassed by the United Nations or the European Union.”The influence of Western countries, he said, can be very commanding.The British attorney noted that “the United Kingdom has said that it will withhold aid to third world countries if those countries do not change their laws on homosexuality.”He added, “we see in America President Obama saying that it is a foreign policy priority to promote homosexuality across the world. These are powerful countries with huge international aid budgets, and they’re helping to push this issue around the globe.”“If (nations) are told constantly, ‘you need to change your laws on abortion. You need to change your laws on homosexuality,’ then that pressure can lead to change at a domestic level.”Moreover, such ideas have very practical import, or “knock-on effect,” Coleman said, citing Facebook’s recent decision to include 50 different gender options for profiles instead of male or female, as well as something like the winter Olympic games.“They are defined as the men’s competitions and the women’s competitions. Well, what do you do if you have someone who wants to compete in the women’s competitions who isn’t a woman?”People who believe that humanity is male and female, and who want to act on those beliefs, will face “a conflict within the law,” noted Coleman.“We’re going to see more religious liberty cases where people are being sued, being threatened legally because they’re clinging to the belief that there is male and female.”