Cure for AIDS Coalition, Public Benefit Corporation
January 26, 2016
Dear President Obama:
My name is Timothy Ray Brown. They used to call me the Berlin Patient. I am the first person in the world cured of HIV.
It is my understanding that your Administration is in the process of finalizing the Fiscal Year 2016 budget for the National Institutes of Health. I first want to thank you for your commitment to reroute funding for a cure for HIV in your World AIDS Day address in 2013. It was a historic moment. Thank you.
But, today I have a personal request. To please include a $200 million increase for HIV and AIDS research for Fiscal Year 2016 and reject flat funding. I believe you have already committed to increasing the budget by $100 million. I believe an additional $100 million for a total $200 million increase, could very well lead to a cure for HIV. Without adequate funding for HIV and AIDS research, there will be no cure.
I still lie awake at night, knowing I am the only person in the world cured of this dreaded disease. Without robust HIV and AIDS research, there will be no end to this pandemic that has taken so many millions of lives around the world, infected millions more and affected countless families and communities. Also my partner Tim, who is HIV-positive, like I used to be – I want us to be cured together. This gives me hope. Like people tell me that I give hope to millions around the world.
The world continues to look to our great nation when it comes to ground breaking research. NIH-funded HIV and AIDS research has supported basic science for better treatments, prevention, and a vaccine and yes now, a cure for HIV. This research has directly saved the lives of millions. But I know we can do even better. We have to do better.
Since I was cured in 2007, I have given my body, mind and soul over to finding a cure for HIV. I have been poked, prodded, spinal tapped, brain biopsied, had parts of my lymph-nodes cut out, and I have willingly given gallons upon gallons of my blood in the effort to duplicate my cure. Which I feel is really the world’s cure. And although my body is somewhat broken because of all of these procedures, I have never asked for anything in return.
But I do ask you now, from the bottom of my heart. Please continue to be the strength and voice in support of HIV and AIDS research through the NIH. And you will be able to look back and history will remember, that at a crucial moment in time you said Yes, when it would have been easier to say no. As an American who has become the face of a cure for AIDS, I believe in our scientific community, I believe in the NIH and I still believe in you.
Timothy Ray Brown
Co-Founder, Cure for AIDS Coalition