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First person cured of HIV dying from blood cancer: partner

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AIDS Ribbon AFP/File / Jewel SAMAD

Timothy Ray Brown, the American once known as “the Berlin patient” who in 2008 became the first person to be cured of HIV, is terminally ill with cancer, according to his partner.

“Timothy is not dying from HIV, just to be clear,” his partner Tim Hoeffgen told the activist and writer Mark King, who published a blog post on the subject on Tuesday.

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“HIV has not been found in his bloodstream since he was cured. That’s gone. This is from the leukemia. God, I hate cancer,” added Hoeffgen.
King told AFP he had reached the couple by phone last Saturday. Brown, 54, is receiving hospice care at his home in Palm Springs, California.

“I’m going to keep fighting until I just can not fight any more,” Brown told King.

Brown made medical history and became the personification of hope for the tens of millions of people living with the virus that causes AIDS when he was cured more than a decade ago.

He was studying in Berlin in 1995 when he learned he had become infected. Then, in 2006, he was diagnosed with leukemia, or cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

To treat his leukemia, his doctor at the Free University of Berlin used a stem cell transplant from a donor who had a rare genetic mutation that gave him natural resistance to HIV, hoping it may wipe out both diseases.

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It took two painful and dangerous procedures, but it was a success: in 2008 Brown was declared free of the two ailments, and was initially dubbed “the Berlin Patient” at a medical conference to preserve his anonymity.

Two years later, he decided to break his silence and went on to become a public figure, giving speeches and interviews and starting his own foundation.

“I am living proof that there could be a cure for AIDS,” he told AFP in 2012. “It’s very wonderful, being cured of HIV.”

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Last year, the second-ever person was announced cured from the same method. Initially called “the London patient,” he later went public, identifying himself as Adam Castillejo.

© 2020 AFP


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Senior DHS official slams Twitter after being locked out of account for ‘hate speech’

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On Thursday, Politico reported that Customs and Border Protection chief Mark Morgan lashed out at Twitter during a news conference on border wall construction, complaining that they had briefly locked his account under "hate speech" policies for tweeting his support of the wall.

The original tweet in question had stated that "every mile helps us stop gang members, murderers, sexual predators and drugs from entering our country."

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2020 Election

Here’s why counting 2020 votes could hinge on 13,500 misprinted ballots in Wisconsin

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Officials in Wisconsin are warning of delays in counting votes after 13,500 ballots were misprinted.

"The state Supreme Court declined to take a case Thursday that would tell officials in northeastern Wisconsin how to deal with misprinted ballots, raising the prospect of lengthy counting delays as clerks fill out thousands of replacement ballots on Election Day," Patrick Marley reported for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thursday.

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Guns

Walmart pulls guns from sales floors, citing civil unrest

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Walmart plans to remove guns and ammunition from its sales floors in the US following unrest in Philadelphia this week, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

The retail giant will continue to sell the items to consumers who request them, but will pull them from displays. Guns and ammunition are sold at about half of US stores, primarily in locations where hunting is popular, a company spokeswoman said.

"We have seen some isolated civil unrest and as we have done on several occasions over the last few years, we have moved our firearms and ammunition off the sales floor as a precaution for the safety of our associates and customers," a Walmart spokeswoman said. "These items do remain available for purchase by customers."

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