Berlin Patient Story & Timeline

The Berlin Patient (Timothy Ray Brown) Story Timeline

The Berlin Patient is what the media called Timothy Ray Brown before he came out as the first person in the world cured of HIV.  As he tells it, his story is really a tribute to the hundreds of people that have been in his life and have come into his life, since he became the first person in the world cured of HIV.

Just in case you have not heard the remarkable story of the Berlin Patient, the following is a timeline which spans more than 17 years.


Timothy R. Brown attends a press confereIn My Own Words…

• I was born in Seattle Washington. I am an only child. My Father left us when I was an infant. I never met him.

• I was attending school in Berlin in 1995 when I tested positive for HIV.

• I was terrified and thought for sure I was going to die. Some of my friends had already died from AIDS. A Cure was never discussed back then.

• I was prescribed only AZT. Then the protease enriched drug cocktail was realized.

• The next eleven years were pretty uneventful.

• It wasn’t until 2006, while living in Berlin that I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. This was bad news.

• A young hematologist, Dr. Gero Huetter started me on chemotherapy the very next day.

• I developed pneumonia early on.

• I had to stop my third round of chemotherapy half-way through when I developed sepsis. Tubes were placed in my heart.

• I should have died.

• I was released from the hospital and my leukemia appeared to be in remission. Yee Ha!

• I took a vacation to Italy.

• Unknown to me, Dr. Huetter was reading about something called a rare CCR5 receptor genetic mutation.

In 2007, while I was on a trip to the U.S., I soon found out that the leukemia returned.

• Crap. Not again!

• Initial attempts at a different chemotherapy were not successful. I was going to die.

• However, a stem cell transplant became a viable option.

• Then Eureka! Dr. Huetter had a revolutionary stem cell treatment idea. Why not use a compatible donor who had the CCR5 mutation? Someone who is naturally immune to HIV.

• He said, maybe it would not only cure my cancer, but also my HIV.

• Really????

• I said NO to the ground breaking treatment idea. I never liked guinea pigs. Especially me.

• Crap. The chemotherapy didn’t work.

• I’m going to die.

Again, Dr. Huetter discusses with me the revolutionary CCR5 stem cell transplant idea.

• I finally agree.

• Holy Cow! Dr. Huettter finds a compatible CCR5 Delta 32 Negative donor.

• I undergo total body irradiation to wipe out my body’s entire immune system.

• I tell Dr. Huetter that my boyfriend wants me to stop taking my HIV meds… before the stem cell transplant.

• Dr. Huetter says No. It’s not part of the protocol.

I put my foot down. I refuse to participate in the ground breaking CCR5 stem cell transplant.

• Dr. Huetter has an emergency meeting with colleagues. He comes back and says he’s changed the protocol. I can now stop taking my HIV meds.

On February 7, 2007 – I receive the CCR5 stem cell transplant.

• Three months later there is no sign of HIV in my body.

• Really???

• They do more tests. Lots and lots of tests throughout my entire body.

I’m Cured.

• No one in the scientific community believes it, including the New England Journal of Medicine.

• The Wall Street journal writes an article about a strange “Berlin Patient” that has been cured of HIV.

• Then the New York Times writes an article.

• Then the New England Journal of Medicine finally agrees to publish Dr. Huetter’s report on the mysterious “Berlin Patient”.

• They announce to the world that in fact the “Berlin Patient” is cured of HIV.

• But wait….No one knows that I am the Berlin Patient.

• My T-cell counts increase.

• I thrive. I go to the gym. I used to have wasting syndrome, but without HIV in my body, I develop muscles.

• I was looking good. I was feeling good.

Until 2008, when my leukemia returned. Give frigging me a break!

• But hey… my HIV did not return!

• I undergo a second stem cell transplant from the same CCR5 donor. Thank God I have a really nice donor.

• They do more tests and accidently leave an air bubble in my brain.

• I go completely paralyzed. I’m delirious. I’m scared.

• I am in and out of the hospital for more than a year.

• My Mother has now come to visit me 8 times in the Berlin Hospital.

• She works in the Sheriff’s office in Seattle. Her colleagues donate their vacation time so she can be by my side.

More tests. There is still no HIV in my system!

• I’m still Cured.  It has been more than 7 years since my stem cell transplant that lead to my cure for my HIV and leukemia.

• I realize that still have some challenges. My body and mind have been thru a lot.

• But I am alive.

• I am the first person in the world cured of HIV.

• I know in my heart, I will not be the last.


“It has now been just over 7 years since my first stem cell transplant. I am cured of leukemia and I am cured of HIV”

                –  Timothy Ray Brown (The Berlin Patient)


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